Okon Bassey in Uyo
For encouraging sports development in the country, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has honoured Akwa Ibom State with three awards.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh confirmed to THISDAY wednesday.
He said the awards were in the category of sports infrastructural development, sports development and best supporting state for the Super Eagles.
According to commissioner, the awards were in recognition of the role the state 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 in Russia.
“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 from the state government and football fans in the state during the qualifying matches in Uyo.
“You recall that for the first time match bonuses and other entitlements to the players and other logistics were 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 (AITEO Federation Cup) last year. Akwa United eventually won the male version while the female team lost on penalties to their Rivers State counterpart and this shows the level of inputs we have made in sports.
“We also hosted a nouvelle competition, the stateâ€™s Youth Sports Festival which was used to discover budding talents from the grassroots 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 Godswill 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 stressed
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.