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Wike’s Giant Strides In Rivers Sports

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Infrastructural development is no doubt a necessity for the transformation of any city or state. Massive rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of dilapidated and run down structures is one of the high points of the Rivers State Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (CON) GSSRS.
It is a known fact that the Governor has injected well over 50 percent of the State’s capital budget into the funding of very critical infrastructural developments and other projects.
The Governor’s passion to make a change, has seen his efforts bringing to the fore hitherto forgotten and neglected sectors of the state. The impact of his infrastructural development is being felt in virtually every sector of the state.
Since assuming office on May 29, 2015, Governor Wike, a visionary leader has greatly devoted himself to the positive transformation of Rivers State, which obviously occupies a valuable position in a strategic region.
He has, without minsing words, sparked an infrastructural revolution at a time when the Nigerian economy is greatly challenged.
The vision of His Excellency will be better appreciated when we take a critical look at various sectors and specific developmental data often glossed over or outrightly down played, by the populace.
We can safely say that rhetorical recourse to impress is not feasible, rather there are focused action with tangible and remarkable results for all to see, feel, touch and access.
All infrastructural projects, have direct relevance to the economical development and well being of the people of the state. Today, we are going to take a look at infrastructural Development in Sports.
Take for example the Alfred Diette Spiff Civic Centre and the Sharks Football Stadium and the facelift it is currently undergoing, is just one of the infrastructural developmental strides. Football before now was the sole sport that occupied the front burner for a long time, Sports no doubt is a strong unifying bond creator worldwide, even enemies share arena when it comes to football, and other sports. It does not in any way remove from the importance and beauty of other forms of sporting activities.
A very key point in social development is Sports Rivers State thankfully has a very proud sporting history and notable personalities, whose names have been written in the sands of time. We have names like Adokiye Amiesimaka, Richard Owubokiri, Taribo West Joseph Yobo boxers like Dokiwari Duncan; table tennis star like, Ethel Jack, sprinters like Iyingiyikabo, just to name a few. But for long every other sports slipped into limbo even football, was quite epileptic.
Worthy of note, were sports festivals and competitions amongst primary and secondary schools, which gave rise to sports stars, who were groomed to the highest height, but it all fizzled out, probably due to two major factors, one was financial sponsorship and second was the dilapidated structures due to lack of maintenance. Such facilities like the Alfred Diette Spiff Centre and, the basketball Court in town and even the Yakubu Gowon Stadium were no longer conducive for such sporting activities.
In the last two years though, there have been notable advancement in Sports development, particularly infrastructure and human development. The Shark Stadium is wearing a brand new look, swimming pool and all the other facilities in the complex have been renovated and reconstructed to standard to enhance sports development in the State. The Alfred Diette Spiff Sports Complex is under serious overhauling, to make it fit for hosting indoor sports competitions, besides its importance to sports, the added aesthetic effect on the environment is worthy of commendation.
There is also ongoing in the complex, the construction of a forty bed hostel for sports men and women.
The General Yakubu Gowon Stadium has also been renovated and put into use, it now boasts of a functional indoor sports hall, floodlights, male and female hostels, office blocks, twin volleyball courts, tennis court, a diving pool, an automated water treatment plant to power the pools, an Olympic size swimming pool.
This administration has sponsored a lot of sporting activities to boost sports development, it has also empowered the state contingents to attend sports competition nationally. The state contingent participated in the National Youth Games in Ilorin in 2016, Para-Table Tennis classification in Lagos 2016, Chief of Naval Staff Swimming Championship in Calabar, 2016, CBN Wheelchair Championship in Lagos 2016, Nigeria Boxing Federation Open Championship Lagos 2019 and in 2017, the Judo Cadet and Junior Tournament in Port Harcourt as well as Tyroll and Thompson South-South under 18 male/female Handball in Port Harcourt. But most recently is the Governor Nyesom Wike National Wrestling Championships, which was quite a fanfare.
Also enjoying the sports largesse are the various clubs and teams in the state. The first notable achievement was the merging of the two state owned football teams. The Sharks Football Club and The Dolphins Football Club into a formidable team which was aptly renamed the Rivers United Football Club. this move is not only cost effective but also, has eased stress in the management of the teams. There is now adequate funds to manage the teams effectively.
The backlog of salaries and allowances have also been paid to the teams.
The female football team was not left behind, as they enjoy improved funding for all their engagements, they boast of producing nine players for the National Female team that won the African Women Championship of 2016 in Cameroun.
The moribund State Government owned Basketball Club, was resuscitated and are currently in the prestigious division one of the National basketball league. The backlog of entitlements were also paid in full by his Excellency.
The Rivers State Sports Council has been greatly empowered to participate in various sports events as well as organise their own sporting activities.
Besides, empowering the state teams to attend sporting events, the state Governor has also sponsored sport activities and these include the sponsorship cum partnership in the Go-Round/SWAN Senior Secondary Schools Athletic Championship in 2016. The Joseph Yobo Testimonial Cum Centenary Games in 2016, Victor Ezeji Testimonial Games in 2016. He also sponsored as well as hosted several international football matches in the state, sponsored Bukina Faso and Nigeria nations Cup qualifier match as well as the hosting of Nigeria Super Eagles qualifying match against Swaziland, and also sponsored and hosted the National under twenty three Football team continental matches in addition to camping the team.
The first Rivers/Bayelsa Wrestling Championship was also sponsored by the Rivers State Government this year. The SWAN, South-South hosting is an added feather to the already beautiful cap of the State Government.
And most recently, the bid for the hosting rights for the Senior African Wrestling Championship for 2018, was sponsored and won by the State Government.
The past two years has witnessed outstanding achievements in the Sports sector of the state, following the massive rehabilitation work. To the various sports personnel and the Sports Commission, the phrase “catch them young,” will definitely come to play. The morale of the athletes and sports administrators alike, will be highly boosted, with this, the State can eventually win laurels and boost income generation, with its world class standard facilities.

 

Juliet Njiowhor

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Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0

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Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

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Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach

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The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.

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Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”

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