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NSF:‘Why I Saved Ebonyi From N10m Fine’

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An Ex-Cricket International, Chika Okoro,who saved Ebonyi State from paying the 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF) non-participation fine of N10 million, has revealed the reasons for his actions.
Tidesports source recalls that the Ebonyi State Government had declared that it would not send a contingent to the festival held in Abuja, an offence which attracts N10million as non-participation fine.
Okoro, the South East representative in the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF) board, however, sponsored the state’s cricket team to the festival thereby de-listing the state from non-participants at the festival.
The sports administrator noted that he took the decision to save the state from paying the fine and provided the athletes the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The cricket players had been in camp for more than five weeks prior to the festival’s commencement and I had to sponsor their stay in camp.
“When the government declared that the state will not participate in the festival, I felt uncomfortable that they would not have the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“I also felt that paying such huge fine would be undesirable to the state, so I sponsored the team’s entire stay in Abuja, for the festival.
“The action has already yielded fruit as four of the players are currently in the National U-19 Camp, preparing for a continental outing in Gambia,” he said.
He, however, said his action was not to seek for the government’s recognition, but that he was motivated by his love for the sport and desire for its development in the state and the entire south east zone.
“Nobody from the government has called to appreciate my actions, but that is no problem because I am not seeking recognition.
“I decided to champion the growth of cricket in the zone by promoting it in the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
“It is only when people appreciate and understand the game early that they can play it better and ensure its growth,” he said.
Okoro further explained that his love for sports dated back to 1979 during his days at the Government College Afikpo, where he rose to become the school’s captain.
“I represented the school and the old Imo in cricket and rose to represent Nigeria in several international events.
“I benefited from playing cricket and have to give back to the sport.
“I have donated kits such as balls, bats, concrete floor, nets, polls, lighting-equipment, and others, and this cannot be counted as a waste of resources.
“Cricket is an elitist sports because it is played by those who attend schools, and it is also expensive.
“We are striving to make it as popular as football because cricket players in Pakistan, India, England and other countries compete favourably with professional footballers,” Okoro said.

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Afelokhai Downplays Pressure To Win Trophy

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Newly signed Rivers United’s goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai, has downplayed the huge expectation on the Port Harcourt-based side to win a title after going on a spending spree with a recruitment drive of some of the biggest legs in the Nigeria Professional Football League ahead of the next football league season.
Afelokhai speaking in a chat with  Tidesports source said the players assembled are big players with huge ambitions and will notwithstanding any team targets want to achieve and win things for themselves and the club.
He stressed that there is no pressure to win a trophy at the club but certainly they want to all succeed.
“We have the good players here and the players are really ready to deliver, and having someone like me and others every player know what they want in life, we have a good plan for ourselves and the team and it’s to win something and that’s why we are here.
“We know what we want, every player knows what he wants. I don’t think we are under pressure to win something but the thing is that we want to win something. We are all here to achieve and we are going to achieve what we are here for.”

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Wike Hailed Over Rivers Real Madrid Academy …Institution Set To Admit Students

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The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike has been described as a leader who truly understands the value of sports and goes ahead to institute facilities that would enhance such values and make them accessible to the people.
This was the position of the state Commissioner for Sports, Hon Boma Iyaye on Tuesday during a tour of the magnificent Rivers State Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, with sports journalists.
Speaking after the tour conducted by the Special Assistant (SA) to Governor Wike on the Real Madrid Football Academy, Barr. Christopher Green, the Commissioner said that the governor has demonstrated his commitment to sports development and empowerment through numerous projects and programmes, especially the Real Madrid Football Academy.
According to Hon. Iyaye, the football academy is an iconic project and the edifice would go a long way to show that Governor Wike is indeed the Power of Sports in Africa, POS-Africa, a title that was awarded him in 2018.
The commissioner said that at conception, he did not think that the project would be as huge as it has turned out to be. “I am elated and short of words,” he said. “This is a project that after 20 or 30 years, anybody who is related to the project would shake his head and thank God that he was part of the team that was able to do this at our own time.
“Maybe, Rivers people would not immediately realise the legacy the governor is bequeathing, not only to the youths but anybody who is a Rivers indigene,” he said.
“We want to thank the governor for what he has done for Rivers people, we thank him for what he has bequeathed to our youths. “From the age of eight, nine, 10 and 11, we want to catch them young, probably, if some of us had had the opportunity of going through such a facility at a tender age, we would have been among the best footballers in the world,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the SA, Barrister Green described the academy as one of its kind in the world where youngsters would be weaned in the art of footballing and academics in a unique way.
“What we have here is a world class facility, comparable to any one that can be found in the world. “Our teachers are among the best you can get in this country and our methodology is quite different.
“We’re grateful to Governor Wike, the man whose dream and vision has made this possible. What he has bequeathed to the youths in Rivers State is something indescribable. “He has secured the future of our youths in the state and even beyond.”
Green said that the academy would be ready to admit students from next month and that the quota would be 70 per cent for Rivers people and 30 per cent from outside and other nationalities as directed by the governor.

 

By: Gabriel Nwanetanya

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Administrative Structure In NPFL, Immature – Baraje

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Veteran Nigeria Professional Football League Manager, Zachary Baraje, has described the administrative structure in Nigerian Professional Football League football as immature with the consistent annual mass drift of players and coaches among clubs in the different tiers of the league.
Baraje speaking in a chat with  Tidesports source on the pervasive occurrence said the practice has put league football structure in Nigeria at the incubation stage and this has also encumbered what should have been sustainable growth of clubs in the different strata of league football in Nigeria.
“We’re still in a stage of incubation, maturity is really yet to get to us we are still not yet matured, by the time we are matured really that’s when things will take shape in our club sides. So our football will just remain in the doldrums like that, the movement of our coaches for one year contract if things are well done the contract supposed to be not less than two years and above in such a way that we will know how consistent your team has been.

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