The Head Coach of Rivers United Football Academy of Port Harcourt, Sunny Iseokwehma has appealed to the Rivers State Government to set up a policy that will enable oil firms and banks to invest in sporting activities in the state.
Iseokwehma said that he was giving back the little experience he has gotten over the years as a player and administrator, adding that it was tasking duty to be a grassroots coach and impart knowledge into the future generation in terms of football.
The head coach said in an exclusive interview with Tidesports yesterday, at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt in one of their training matches.
He stated that there were a lot of talented youth on the street that can become future stars for the state and the country, saying that everything should not be for government alone, churches, oil firms, private companies and banks should be involved in developing grassroots sports in the state.
According to him, in his tender age, companies do had teams in the state such as NNPC, NPA and Julius Berger but today nothing of that nature is in the state again.
“In Lagos State, companies still sponsor FA Cup tournaments but in Rivers State every sport activity is left for government. It is high time churches, companies and well-meaning individuals went into sports development in the state”, Iseokwehma said.
He explained that, the problem of grassroots sports development in the country is majorly finance, adding that some training pitches caused injuries to the players, and that when you are grooming players, there should be good environment for them.
“Government should refund taxes collected from oil firms that are involved in sporting activities in the state”, he said.
He equally blamed banks, churches and oil firms for not doing the needful.
“Like in Delta State, companies sponsor sports tournaments and other sporting events, but it is opposite in Rivers State”, he stated.
He noted that, coaching the academy for the two years has not been easy because some players did not even eat before coming to training, consequently, I spend my personal money to provide food for the children under my tutu lage.