The rehabilitated Moshood Abiola Stadium has been handed over to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development after repairs works were completed.
The repair work which is being handled by Aron Nigeria Limited is sponsored by billionaire Aliko Dangote.
Aron Executive Director Stakeholder Management and Corporate Communications of the Group, Mansur Ahmed, who represented Dangote, handed the rehabilitated stadium to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Friday.
The rehabilitation work was carried out on the main bowl pitch and scoreboard.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Dare lauded the Aron and Dangote Group for completing the project in record time, despite constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a thing of joy to have this stadium come back to life. It is an iconic stadium, it is the national stadium, Moshood Abiola National Stadium.
“By the words of the experts here and those that have toured the facility, we have the latest grass here – Paspalum grass – one of the best, when we talk about football pitches across the World. Something exactly similar to what we have in Qatar, that will be used for the World Cup next year.
“We thank Aliko Dangote for opening his doors to us, and accepting to adopt the Moshood Abiola Stadium when we came up with our ‘Adopt-a-Pitch’ proposal. “We salute his commitment that culminated in the completion of the project today, inclusive of maintenance for at least two years,” Dare said.
Ahmed said that the formal hand-over of the rehabilitated pitch was a testimony of the commitment of the company to sports development and supporting football .
“As we all know, Nigerian players are international but until now, we don’t have an international standard facility and our commitment is to work with the Ministry to make sure that this particular facility remains of international standard. We are therefore happy to contribute by this renovation, and by the arrangement to maintain it for the next two years”, Ahmed said.
Former international and Special Adviser to the President on Sports, Daniel Amokachi, said after spending $1m to renovate the facility, long-term maintenance is paramount. He appealed to Dangote Group to consider extending the period of maintenance beyond two years.
Dangote adopted the Abuja stadium with repair works commencing August 2020, while another billionaire and chairman of Premier Lotto, Kessington Adebutu also agreed to foot the bills for the rehabilitation of the National Stadium, Lagos.