A former Director-General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeleye, has commended organisers of the 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) for postponing the event following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Elegbeleye stated that prioritising the health of athletes and officials by postponing the event was a step in the right direction.
The festival tagged “Edo 2020’’ was scheduled to hold in Benin City between March 22 and April 1.
He said Nigeria could not afford to gather so many people together when other countries were taking counter-measures.
“There is no need assembling youths and putting their health at risk when the whole world is trying to be cautious because of coronavirus.
“I personally was worried about the NSF and I wondered if parents and guardians would release their wards for the event. Thankfully, the organisers have done the rational thing,” Elegbeleye said.
The former director-general pointed out that sports activities have either been cancelled or suspended globally, with major European football leagues suspended and this summer’s Euro 2020 shifted till 2021.
Elegbeleye, a member of the 2011 Ministerial Committee on Reform of Football Administration, said nothing much would change in terms of logistics and preparedness of the host state.
“Edo has been given the right to host and that will not change. The state only has to adjust in terms of marketing, sponsorship and whatever perishable procurement it has made.
“For now, we cannot afford to be careless when the whole world is being careful,” he said.
The Edo 2020 LOC said a new date for the NSF would be announced after due consultations with other stakeholders.