Niger state Commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Sports Development, Hon. Mamman Musa has said that the state was set to host the week 38 match of the Nigeria Premier Football League, NPFL between the state darling team, Niger Tornadoes and Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
The Commissioner made this disclosure, Monday, during a Sallah novelty football match between Bida Lions and Minna selected team, to test-run the upgraded facilities at the Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna.
He said the novelty match was organized by the ministry to make observations and necessary corrections before the last match, saying the field is ready for premier league purpose.
The Commissioner also said that he feels bad because he hoped that several matches were played in the facility, but that he was happy that the Bako Kontagora Stadium had been reopened after several years of closure.
He also expressed optimism that the stadium will be approved by the League Management Company (LMC).
“There are serious indications that they are satisfied with the pitch, we are only waiting for documented guarantee for us to play the match. I want to say that all is set for that match.
“In fact, as we are talking to you right now we have some members of LMC in our midst unofficially, we invited them and we are hearing comments from them which is good signal that the field is okay,” said the Commissioner.
Also speaking during the reopening of the Bako Kontagora Stadium, the Chairman of Tornadoes Management Committee (TMC), Hon. Adamu Aliyu expressed delight that football was back in Bako Kontagora Stadium.
He observed that in the past there used to be a Sallah football novelty matches in the stadium, but that the tradition had long died, and appreciated the state Ministry of Youths and Sports Development for reviving it.
Speaking on his team playing their league matches outside the state for the past two seasons, Hon. Adamu Aliyu said they have taken it as one of their challenges as there are always ups and downs in whatever one does in life, adding that now that the pitch was
ready for use it will be a success story to tell.
He said in football one needs to take every ground as a home and that it was the secret behind the state darling team not losing a single match at their adopted ground in Lokoja, Kogi State, adding that the situation was not only peculiar to Niger Tornadoes as Eyimba Fc also played two seasons away from home and did very well.
Hon. Adamu Aliyu also appealed to Niger Tornadoes fans to be patient, and that they must understand that the league has grown and the spirit of sportsmanship was expected all the time because you have to win some matches and lose some.
He also assured that Niger Tornadoes fans and supporters were the best in the country because despite playing home away from home there was no single match the fans and supporters were missed at Lokoja.
The TMC Chairman also urged the fans and supporters to continue to support the team and put up a positive attitude, assuring them that the state darling team management will continue to assemble the best legs in the NPFL and also work to attract partnership to the club.
The novelty football match between Bida Lions and Minna selected team ended in a goalless draw as both teams missed a lot of scoring chances; especially the Minna team which could not convert the two penalties awarded her team in each of the half.
Other dignitaries present during the occasion include the State Director of Sports, Alh. Baba Sheshi, the Director of Facilities, Mr. Fred Isaiah, the Project Manager on Sports to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Hon. Baba Orlando and members of the Niger State Football Association (NSFA) led by the second Vice Chairman of the association, Alh Kabiru Baba Master, as well as other members of the state football family.