By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has been selected by the Federal Ministry of Sports for the conferment of three awards in sports development, State Information and Strategy Commissioner, Mr. Charles Udoh told correspondents on Wednesday in Uyo.
Udoh said the awards are for sports infrastructural development, sports development and best supporting state for the Super Eagles.
According to him, the awards were in recognition of the role the state has played in recent times in providing sports infrastructure, grassroots sports development and providing the platform for the qualification of the Super Eagles for this year’s FIFA World Cup.
“The awards were for the part the state has played in recent times towards sports development in Nigeria. You will recall that the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup with a game to spare all thanks to the logistics support and the support from fans in the state during their qualifying matches in Uyo.
“You recall that for the first time match bonuses and other entitlements to the players and other logistics was not a problem for the team. The state government had a hand in that and that contributed to their seamless qualification.
“In sports development you also recall that two teams from the state qualified for the finals of the FA Cup last year. Akwa United eventually win the male version while the female team lost on penalties to their Rivers counterpart and this shows the level of inputs we have made in sports.
“We also hosted a nouvelle competition, the state youth sports festival which was used to discover budding talents from the grassroot and that is a plus for total sports development not just football. Akwa United is also representing the country in CAF Confederations Cup and that is courtesy of the level of funding of that club.
“In the area of sports infrastructure the Gods will Akpabio stadium has continued to enjoy superior maintenance and provides the country with the best playing turf especially for the Super Eagles.
“In addition we are continuing with the building of ten sports centres in the ten federal constituencies of the state and work on a new stadium for Eket city has started. That stadium will have an artificial turf so that our football clubs can also be accustomed on such turfs since most of the pitches they use outside Akwa Ibom are artificial.” He explained.
The commissioner commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for the investment he has continued to make in sports and which has yielded results going by the performance of the state teams and athletes in national and international events in recent times adding that he would receive the awards on behalf of Gov Emmanuel.