The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the ministry is to choose six universities in the six geopolitical zones as centres of sporting excellence.
The minister, who said this on Tuesday in Ilorin, Kwara State while speaking with newsmen, said universities are prime candidates considering their multi sports facilities in one location.
Dare said: “We plan to identify one university in each of the six geopolitical zones and confer on them centres of excellence.
“There will be a committee to look into the entries.
“The chosen universities will have partnership with the ministry and will be linked with other universities in Europe and America.
“Private investors would come into the universities to build facilities.”
Citing examples of Lagos State University, Ojo, and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife that had given trials to talented students seeking admission, Dare said the scheme would build durable partnership between sports and academics.
This, he added, would ensure that potential national athletes equally access the best of education.
The minister explained that funding was the main challenge facing sports development in Nigeria, adding that expectations from Nigerians were very high.
He said: “Nigeria is a sports loving nation, and though sports development in this country has had challenges, there is hope for a brighter future.
“Sports development has had a trajectory truncation because of funding but there has never been dearth of talents in Nigeria.
“We look forward to corporate bodies coming in to support sports development.
“We want to see corporate organisations come to build stadia and invest in sports.
“We intend to harness the talents, build technical capacity.
“We want to build a new generation of coaches, athletes and technical officials.
“We want to build a business model around sports because sports is a big business and we intend to make it big business in Nigeria.”