Sport

Gov. Umahi’s aide hails SWAN for efforts at reviving sports in Ebonyi

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The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Ebonyi Governor, Emmanuel Uzor, has hailed the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) for reviving sports in the state.

Uzor gave the commendation on Wednesday in Abakaliki when the association’s members in the state visited to congratulate him for his re-appointment, noting that the government appreciated his efforts.

The CPS said that sports was “dead’’ in Ebonyi before the inception of the present administration but the vibrant coverage of the government’s repositioning policies in sports ensured the revamping of the sector.

“The immediate past administration in the state mismanaged sports probably due to non-comprehension of modern intricacies and trends in sports management.

“The present administration embarked on aggressive sport policies which culminated in the resuscitation of the school sports, paramilitary games and organisation of several competitions.

“This administration will soon unveil its blueprint for consolidating on sports development and continue collaborating with SWAN to ensure sustenance of recorded gains,’’ he said.

He urged SWAN members to expose the corruption and other forms of maladministration recorded in the sports sector at the local, state and federal levels.

“You should expose issues which occur behind the scenes in sports and which pose serious challenges to sportsmen and officials.

“Issues of short-changing and non-payment of athletes’ bonuses and allowances are rife as there are several reports of athletes and officials sleeping inside stadiums during competitions.

“This development poses serious embarrassment to affected state governments and SWAN members should bring such to the fore among other corrupt tendencies in sports.

“You should also embark on aggressive grassroots sports reportage to unearth hidden talents who will be groomed to actualise the state government’s vision for sports,’’ he said.

Uzor said the Olympic size stadium being constructed by the state government would be ready in 16 months as the state-owned team hoped to play its matches there.

“We are also making efforts to ensure that Ebonyi is chosen to host the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in 2020 as there are hopes that more venues would be selected,’’ he said.

The Ebonyi SWAN chapter Chairman, Chukwuemeka Opara, thanked the CPS for receiving the members, saying the association would continue contributing its quota towards sports development in the state.

“We will ensure that sports are adequately covered in the state, especially at the grassroots as the journey to sports stardom starts with unearthing hidden talents,’’ he said.

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