COVID-19: FG makes dramatic U-turn over possible return of football

COVID-19: FG makes dramatic U-turn over possible return of football

- COVID-19 crisis has continued to affect sporting activities in Nigeria

- The federal government has stated that action in the NPFL cannot resume yet

- Clubs in the Nigerian elite league have started preparations ahead the coming season

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With the gradual flattening of the coronavirus pandemic curve in Nigeria, the federal government has stated that it is yet to lift ban on contact sports including football.

Despite the gradual easing of the lockdown, the Nigeria Professional Football League 2020/21 season resumption is still uncertain as government say go-ahead has not been ordered.

Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, September 10, noted that the PTF had only removed restrictions on non-contact sports.

“On the issue, I’m a football fan, but sadly, we have not allowed contact sports at the moment. We have only allowed non-contact sports, and so, football is not included.

“All those football fans, it’s not yet time, but we are looking at this, and we will continue relaxing when the time comes and it is safe to do so,” Aliyu said.

However the Nigerian football community was stunned by the new development as this is coming barely a week after the PTF, in its guidelines, stated it had removed restrictions on “sporting leagues.”

COVID-19: FG makes dramatic U-turn over possible return of football and other activities
COVID-19 crisis affecting Nigerian football. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

During that session, Aliyu said that nothing has been agreed for contact sports as side the fact that activities can go ahead only with non-contact sports.

“Restriction is removed on outdoor communal (non-contact) sports and use of recreational parks for supervised physical exercise; and sporting leagues to resume with no fans in stadiums and with necessary NPIs to be directed by the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control),” the guideline stated.

Meanwhile, earlier reported that former Super Eagles goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba has returned to his former club Kwara United where he began his professional football career in 1998 before joining Enyimba two years later.

Kwara United have completed the signing of former Super Eagles goalie ahead of the 2020/21 Nigerian Professional Football League season.

At the just concluded NPFL season which was canceled due to the continuous threat of the pandemic, Kwara United aimed to finish among the top clubs.

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