Coach Decries Rivers United Feeder Team Neglect
The Head Coach of Rivers United Feeder team of Port Harcourt, Ken Chukwu has decried the total neglect of the team.
He explained that the feeder team was prerequisite to register the senior club to play in Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is currently marred with maladministration and complete neglect.
Chukwu, said this on Monday, while speaking with Sports journalists, shortly his side qualified for the finals of the ongoing Rivers State Keves Global Football Competition ( RSKGFC), at Sharks Football Club Stadium.
According to him, the maladministration of the team is also affecting the smooth running of the junior club of Rivers United and called on the relevant authorities to restructure and revive the team.
“Rivers United Feeder team was one of prerequisites to register the senior team to play in the NPFL, but today they have neglected team. I called on the relevant authorities to come and save the team from total collapse” Chukwu said.
At the end of game Rivers United Feeders defeated Bravo FC 3-2 on penalty shootout in one the semi- final of the games after playing 2-2 in the regulation time.
The Head coach who described his boys (players) has very young and talented disclosed that if the team is properly managed and attentions were given, the players will excel.
“The boys are ready to do the job but a lots of things are yet to be attended to.
The team has neglected, sorry for saying it. With tears in my heart the boys are suffering. I used my personal money to run the team.
I would not say the state Governor is not doing his best but the persons managing the team are the problem” he stated.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Tinubu Urged To Tap Sports Goldmine
Former World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight Champion, Bashiru Lawrence Ali, aka Bash Ali, has stressed the need for PresidentBola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to finance initiatives to drive sports development in the country.
Stressing the importance of sports to the economic growth of any nation, Bash Ali, also called on the new administration to create an enabling environment for sports to thrive in the country.
He, therefore, explained that by doing this, the country is bound to enjoy massive revenue generation as seen in the oil and gas sector.
Bash Ali stated this when he addressed Journalists at the sideline of the 6th edition Football Nigeria Pageant 2023/ Nigerian Ambassador Soccer Award, organised by Miss Football Nigeria Organisation, MFNO, in Abuja last weekend.
However, during the event, Lilian Peter Weibey, age 25, was crowned as the winner Queen Miss Football Nigeria; Adewumi Oluwanifemi Mercy, age 21, was the first runner up Face of Nigeria Football while Thomas Blessing, age 21 was the 2nd Runner up Miss Super Falcons.
Speaking on sports development in Nigeria and the need to engage the girl-child, Bash Ali, said: “Developmental sporting initiative from the Federal Government in this administration is dead like every other thing in Nigeria is dead. No sector is truly working. But, I think with the new incoming president, I think there’s going to be a rethink and reorganization, and things will begin to become better because I have always said that every Nigerian athlete is a potential world champion. But the problem is do you have the enabling environment to excel. But this new administration will provide that enabling environment.
“I have met the President three times before he became the president-elect and two more times, and I’ve told him that sport was one of the biggest industries in the world and if well organised in Nigeria, we’ll be able to compete with NNPC. As NNPC brings in money, sports will bring in money and he agrees with me.”
Also speaking, one of the awardees and features editor, Leadership Newspapers, Tunde Oguntola, tasked journalists on putting out reports that would firelight development in the sports sector, particularly as it relates to the girl-child.
He, therefore, called for intensive training for coaches, as part of efforts to ensure that they are in line with current realities in the sports world.
“Sports is a game changer. Sports can elevate someone different from the rural area and not just the urban area but to the limelight of the person’s career in as much as he/she can defend himself/herself. We can see where the likes of Asisat Oshoala and Tobi Amusan at today because of sports. So, sports is indeed a game changer and I will urge journalists to as well give special coverage to sports development in Nigeria.
“There is a need for training and retraining for all coaches in Nigeria. Coaches in Nigeria need to be retrained. A situation whereby there should be symposiums, seminars, and workshops are organised for coaches to increase their inherent skills. You see, when you engage them critically, it builds their horizon and make them compete favourably on the global stage.”
President of Miss Football Nigeria Organization, Amb Moses Maro Ebahor, stressed promoting women’s participation in sports.
Ebahor also stressed the need to redefine Nigeria’s football to inculcate morals and values.
Rangers Still In Hunt For Federation Cup Honours
An 80th-minute strike from mercurial attacking midfielder, Chidiebere Nwobodo ensured that the chase for a seventh championship triumph of the oldest club competition in the country is kept alive by the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C after a dominant display over Doma United F.C in a quarter-final, Federation Cup 2023 encounter.
The encounter which took place inside the Akure Township Stadium saw coach Abdul Maikaba tutored side taking command of the match from the blast of the referee’s whistle signaling the start of hostilities with the trio of Austin Onyemaechi, Shedrack Asiegbu, and Chidiebere Nwobodo showing dominance in the middle of the pack.
Opportunities came and went for the Enugu side as the backline of the ‘Savanah Tigers’ soaked in all the pressures while goalkeeper, Osayi Kingdom was alert to keep out three great chances on 18, 34, and 44 minutes as their arrow man in attack, Charles Chibuike was practically policed by the duo of Uche John and Ebuka Anthony to perfection.
After ending the first stanza on a high, the players returned much determined to carry the day as they continued to search for the game’s opening goal which failed to come until the last ten minutes of the match when Nwobodo in his devastating form connected home a Philp Clement’s inch-perfect cross that hit the upright before nestling in the net with Osayi rooted to a spot.
The introduction of Samuel Pam, Chukwudi Nwaodu, Obinna Idika, and Kingsley Maduforo by the coaching crew at some stages of the contest, to a very large extent, helped in putting the visitors on the back foot for the most part of the second half to help Rangers pick a Semi-final ticket, the first since its last triumph in the now famous, ‘Asaba Miracle’ in 2018 and will have to navigate past the ‘Tin City’ side, Plateau United that defeated Kwara United 1-0 at a venue and date yet to be announced by the organizers, NFF.
An elated coach Abdul Maikaba said in a post-match chat, “It was a good game against a determined and difficult opponent but we stuck to our game plan which gave us the desired victory and a ticket to the semi-finals of the competition. We shall continue to build on the newfound form of the team and work towards being crowned the Federation Cup champions for this year. We are prepared to face any side and fear no foe but respect every team.”
Sports: Building On Wike’s Footprints
Eight years ago, at the inception of the administration of the just concluded government of Chief Nyesom Wike, the signs were clear that sports was going to be one of the cardinal focus of his tenure. From his inauguration activities to the main business of governance,both in the first and second tenure, sporting programmes were given ample representation.
Thus, the place of sports was clearly visible in the NEW vision of the administration, as it tried to reinvent, restructure,rebrand and thrust the state to the fore and as destination of choice in business, economy, recreation and tourism.
According to one of the Commissioners of Sports, that helped implement Wike’s vision in the sector, Hon. Boma Iyaye, the government of Wike saw and tried to use sports as a veritable tool of engagement and empowerment for the teeming youth of the state and beyond, to have the opportunity and platform for livelihood and better life.
That is why the government spared no expenses in providing world class sports infrastructure, promoting and sponsorship of sports competitions and rewarding hardwork and achievement.
It is on record that one of the first critical steps the government took to announce its intention in the sector was the collapsing of the two state owned football clubs, Sharks and Dolphins into one, Rivers United FC for viability and better performance. Since then, Rivers United have gone from strength to strength, winning domestic title and effectively flying the country’s flag in continental club competitions.
In doing these, the club enjoyed tremendous financial and moral support from the ebullient governor of the state. Today, Rivers United remains one the top clubs in Nigeria, known for consistency and results.
In addition to the exploits of Rivers United, it is to the credit of government that the state became one of the few in Africa to host the entire continent in wrestling and badminton competitions. For about one week, African wrestlers gathered at the refurbished Alfred Diete-Spiff Sports Complex for the Africa Wrestling Championship, AWC during Wike’s first tenure. The venue was to later play host to the creme de la creme of Nigerian badminton players for the National Badminton Championship.
There was also synergy with sports stakeholders, especially, sports journalists, as the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN found a willing partner in the state government, holding most of its activities in the state, via government’s sponsorship of its events. Worthy of mention was the association’s Full Council Meeting of 2015, adjudged to be the best organized in quality and content in the history of the association.
All these commitment and demonstrable interest in sports development earned the Rivers State governor the award of Power of Sports, POS, Africa, the first of its kind in the continent.
Perhaps, the flagship of the administration’s sports project bequeathed to the state and posterity is the Real Madrid Football Academy, Port Harcourt, established by the government in consultation with the Real Madrid Football Club, Spain. The academy, conceived and built by Wike did not only try to replicate the structure of its mother institution in Spain, there was deliberate effort to equip the institution with likewise world class facilities that are as good as any in the world. Even would-be handlers, coaches and instructors at the facility were taken to Spain for first-hand training and experience from the mother institution.
Describing the facility, the then Special Adviser, SA to the Governor on Real Madrid Academy, Barr. Christopher Green said that the academy is a world class facility that would produce world class athletes for the state and country. It also demonstrates Governor Wike’s vision to providing a platform that would give Rivers youth and indeed Nigerians at the grassroots the opportunity to explore their talents and be the best they can be.
According to Barr. Green, the academy is uniquely set up to provide sports and academic tutorials side by side, so that those who could not make it through sports could toe the academic path and vice versa.
To former Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Iyaye, the academy remains an indelible footprint and an endowment by Wike to the people of the state, which benefit may not be appreciated fully at the moment but in the near future.
Assessing the strides of the immediate past administration in sports, the President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Sir Honour Sirawoo noted the governor’s deliberate focus in using sports to redirect the energy of the youth to worthwhile venture. He believes that the administration worked consciously to revive the sector, make it attractive and rewarding to the young people, who ordinarily would have been engaged in societal vices.
“I think that Governor Wike really understood the importance of sports, its power and role in changing the society. Indeed, he understood that sports has gone beyond a recreational thing to becoming a huge economic, political and social tool. He worked hard to employ it to maximum effect,” he stated.
Speaking with Tidesports in an interview, the Head coach of De Kings International FA of Port Harcourt, Okpaleke King commended Bar Nyesom Wike for his developmental strides in the sporting industry in Rivers State.
According to him, since his assumption of office, he has sponsored numerous sporting activities in the state which earned him world-wide recognition.
” For me, Governor Nyesom Wike tried his best in the development of sports in the state but the incoming governor needs to do more because government is a continuous process.
” Look at the Rivers State Real Madrid football academy.
” Look at the level of Rivers United FC today winning the league and even play up to the quarter final of the CAF Confederation Cup.
” For me I commend his efforts and contribution to the sporting industry for the past eight years” King said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Chairman of Khana Local Government Council, Hon Nekabari Biagbara said that the imparted positively on the sports landscape of the state
” For me today, the governor has done a lot in sports development which led to the success story of Rivers United FC and the Rivers Angles” Biagbara said.
He stated that through the administration of Governor Wike may have ended, the legacies left behind will continue to endure for the growth of sports in the state.
” Governor Nyesom Wike has done a lot for the development of sports in the state for the youth to realisetheir potential”.
He described Governor Wike as the best when it comes to contribution to sports and development in the country” he said.
The Head coach of New Gunner FC of Gokana, Legbara Gentle urged the incoming governor of Rivers State His Excellency, Siminialayi Fubara to consolidate on the exploits of his predecessor as a way of engaging the youth in the state.
Unfortunately, however, some of the lofty sports establishments put up by the Wike administration did not fully kick off or become fully functional due to one exigency or another.
The magnificent Real Madrid Football Academy readily comes to mind. The academy, due to some additional developments did not effectively take off before the end of the founding administration.
This is where the incoming administration, according to commentators, should come in and ensure that the vision and dream behind the projects did not suffer still-birth.
Apart from the football academy, the new administration should keep the light shining as far as Rivers United FC, Rivers Angels, Royal Hoopers Basketball club and the Sports Council are concerned. Importantly, it is expected that grassroots sports development, particularly, schools sports and association sports would receive priority attention. These would ensure that the base needed for sustainable talent production, discovery and weaning are kept alive and productive.
It is also important that sporting facilities, such as the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex, Yakubu Gowon Stadium, and the myriad of Sports Courts and fields constructed by previous administrations are well maintained and put to use. Facilities at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Sports Complex, especially, the swimming pool, needs to be reactivated for swimmers and other athletes to have easy access to modern facilities, towards relaunching the state to the pinnacle of sports where the state should naturally possess comparative advantage.The era of allowing sports centres and infrastructure to rot away must be frowned at and discouraged.
For renowned sports administrator, Pastor Walter Inegbenoise, Wike’s administration did well in the sports sector but the incoming administration needs to take a notch more. He believes that sports is a sector with limitless opportunity that can be tapped multi dimensionally.
Pastor Inegbenoise posited that the old days when grassroots sports events and competitions were at the doorstep of average Port Harcourt youngster should be recreated.
It is therefore critical that the private sector should be motivated through tax holidays, exemptions or other special considerations in order for them to play the required roles in sports promotion and development.
For SWAN, Rivers State Chapter, the state boasts the potential to be a leading player in the country’s sports sector. And coming from where the past administration has placed it, what is needed to keep the flag flying is ample commitment, dedication and choosing the right lieutenants to pursue and implement his vision and policies, while sustaining the good will and relationship’s already established and beyond the country.
By: Gabriel Nwanetanya With Reports From Kiadum Edookor
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