By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Sports stakeholders in Anambra State have called on the state Governor, Willie Obiano to as a matter of urgency revive the comatose state of sports sector in the state.
The stakeholders made the call over the weekend during Recognition /gala Nightheld at suncity hotel hotel to round off a three day Anambra Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).
Delivering a lecture on the topic, “Importance of Sports Journalism to Development” a lecturer with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Chris Abakare observed that the biggest cankerwirm to any system is when those in authority are abhorrent to constructive engagement and criticisms.
He wondered why there was no representation by officials of the Anambra Sports Development Commission, at a forum where sports was being celebrated .
Abakere said, “The best way to rate your performance is to see what the media is saying, the media is the mirror through which the society sees itself and when you don’t want to see the mirror, it means there is something wrong.
“From the introduction done this night it is sad that no government representative is here, not even from the Sports Commission, that speaks volume about how much those in charge are interested in sports because nobody else talks sports than SWAN.”
The sports enthusiast who manages a grassroots club in Amawbia, Awka South Local Government Area of the state hailed individuals in the private sector for their intervention in sports administration in the State and urged government to support them .
He enjoined SWAN in the state not to relent in its effort to bring the best out of the system in spite of challenges and bumps it may encounter.
On his part, an ex Rangers International/Super Eagles player, Arthur Ebunam said there was need to reinvent the system that gave him to opportunity to join CKC Onitsha to win World Cup in Dublin in 1977 and also join Rangers at 17 years.
Ebunam said sports administration in Anambra died because the Sports Commission board is not properly constituted as provided for in the Establishment Act and has also failed to follow any known model.
He said, “Our governor is a good man with right intentions but the problem is that the sports sector is manned by people that lack the capacity to drive sports. We need professionals to be in charge just as professionals manage the health, judiciary, and other sectorsand.”
The chairman of the occassion, Emeka Egbogota in his speech said that Anambra potentials were been under optimised under the current order where there had been no school sports festival or state sports festival for more than five years.
The Japan based sports enthusiast who was installed patron of SWAN in Anambra State regretted that a state that was blessed with abundance of talents does not have a functional stadium where athletes could express themselves.
“Governor Obiano still have time to right the wrongs in Anambra sports sector in terms of providing facilities and purging his administration of the incompetence in the sector for a more competitive sporting environment.
“Anambra is a blessed state, we are the lighthouse of Nigerian sports but there is need to save sports now than ever before
“We need people who can create programme for our young talented athletes so that the state can return to its glorious days.”
In his contribution, the Director of DOSAD Sports and Chairman of Anambra Independent Football League, Rev. Fr Obinna Dike said the system left much to be desired saying that it forms the reason why the private sector has provided the alternative platform.
Dike, a FIFA badge referee and coach said people should not be despondent but continue to do their part because sports development is a shared responsibility.
While commending SWAN for the Special Recognition given him for his contributions to sports, he urged them as sports journalists not to allow the flame out in their hands.
In his speech, the proprietor of Rojenny Stadium, Oba, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka regretted that even the private sector was not being encouraged by managers of sports .
He wondered why his stadium Which he often gives out for free was not being put to regular use for sporting activities despite having all the facilities for sports activities.
Ezeonwuka decried the inability of the sports managers to pack programmes that would make Anambra born athletes champions anywhere in the world.
He said, “I made Rojenny Stadium available for free to sports managers, let them just harness these young people, bring them here and make them use the tartan tracks, football field, the courts but they can not.
“I thank SWAN for waking up now, if SWAN can put sports programmes together so that our children can compete, let them come and use Rojenny for free.
“In sports, you not only make money but you make a name for yourself and will be known in the world over. Education can make you but sports does better.”
Owner of NEROS stadium Nanka, Chief Polly Emenike who was also installed as a patron on SWAN in Anambra State for his role in bankrolling the Anambra FA Cup for over 10 years.
Others honoured include, Emeka Okeke, Chairman Aspire FC, Philip Udala chairman Udala FC, FC Ifeanyi Ubah among others.
In his vote of thanks, the state SWAN chairman, Anthony Oji hailed all the participants for gracing the event, saying that the sports Commission was duly informed and invited.
The national president of SWAN, Honours Sirawo was represented at the event by the South East Vice President, Chigozie Chukwuleta