The Enugu State Government is resolute in ensuring that Rangers International, the state-owned football club, resumes playing its home matches at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium by the conclusion of November.
Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Lloyd Ekweremadu, reaffirmed this commitment while addressing Government House correspondents following the State Executive Council meeting over the weekend.
Ekweremadu acknowledged that meeting the governor’s November deadline was a demanding task but emphasized the ministry’s unwavering determination to bring the Flying Antelopes back to the stadium, fondly known as The Cathedral, before the stipulated timeframe.
During the Executive Council meeting, the focus was on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium’s status and the impending return of Rangers to their home ground, aiming to fully restore the stadium’s functionality. The commissioner provided insights into the objectives and measures in place to meet the government’s set targets.
“We are making progress,” Ekweremadu reported. “The turf, which is to be laid on the plain surface, is now in Nigeria. It has successfully passed the critical stage of Customs clearance, although there are a few remaining steps. We have set ambitious deadlines, but we are confident that we will meet them.”
He further explained that the governor had outlined in his 100-day speech that the stadium would be prepared for use by November. However, the ministry is working tirelessly to surpass that timeline and expedite the stadium’s return to operation. The Executive Council has unanimously resolved to implement specific measures ensuring the achievement of these targets.
Moreover, the commissioner disclosed that innovative and creative strategies, particularly concerning sponsorship, were being employed to revive Rangers and restore their winning legacy.
Ekweremadu Jr. also highlighted the efforts to reinvigorate school sports within the state. Collaborative efforts between various ministries are being initiated to realize the Governor’s vision of revitalizing school sports. These plans encompass the revival of inter-school sports, aiming to unearth and nurture talent, engage the youth positively, and steer them away from social vices and criminal activities.