The House Committee on Sports has expressed disappoint-ment with the level of publicity for the FIFA U-17 Championship Nigeria 2009 which kicks off tomorrow.
In a chat after the final facility tour by the 40-man Committee member, the Chairman, Honourable Suliaman Bello, said Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa needed to be well mobilised for the games, adding that Nigeria must lead by good example.
â€œWe were in Ghana in 2008 Nationâ€™s Cup and we saw the level of awareness and patriotism due to good publicity and mobilisation of the citizenry. Even South Africa 2010, we can see the level of publicity and everybody are being mobilised. Awareness as concerning U17 Championship is extremely poor. â€œWe donâ€™t expect visitors to be more than Nigerians at the stadia but it appears that is what is going be.
We will continue to mount pressure on the Minister, the LOC Chairman Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi and the Vice Chairman/CEO, Mainasara Ilo. We have discussed the issue of publicity with them and we have expressed our reservation. We are going to have a meeting with the minister and all the stakeholders shortly to ensure adequate publicity for the World Cup across the countryâ€, Bello said.
The Sports Committee Chairman urged the press to assist in publicising the game, noting that â€œif this championship fails it is Nigeria that has failedâ€.
On the reason of the visit 48 hours to the commencement of the champions, Bello said, â€œwe are in the stadium to access the state of readiness of all the facilities earmarked for the hosting of the FIFA U_17 World scheduled to kickoff Saturday.
â€œWe are partly impressed with the facilities considering the level of noise in the press over the unreadiness of the facilities especially the pitches.
â€œAfterall Germany trained on the pitch and did not complain. This is our final visit because we have visited all the stadia five times. But I must add that the House Committee is not happy with the level of publicity given to the world cupâ€.
It was gathered that the visit was facilitated by the Minister of Sports, Sani Ndanusa, who is desperate to have a positive stamp on the championship.