Iwuayanwu Gets Africa Sports Tourism Recognition

The President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide and renowned pillar of football in Nigeria, High Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has been recognised as the ‘life patron’ of the Africa Sports and Tourism Awards(ASTA).

The octogenarian, known for his remarkable contributions to Nigerian football and sports development, who spoke in Abuja, said he was elated by the recognition, highlighting it as one of the highest honours of his life.

Iwuanyanwu reflected on his journey, recounting his earliest recognition in 1963 during his elementary school days when he clinched a gold medal in a sprinting event, setting the stage for his lifelong passion for sports.

He highlighted his involvement in establishing the Wyoming National Football Club, a testament to his dedication to football development.

Despite facing challenges, including the loss of his players during a trip to Australia, Iwuanyanwu said he persevered, buoyed by his commitment to the sport.

 “I had the Wyoming National Football Club. It cost me quite a lot to form. That time, it was a special club, a football club. That time, it was myself, my brother, and the club. But even when I was in school, I used to go to the club and support the club. And my club won several times.

“It won several competitions and then I also had a team that competed in basketball. But, I also had problems. Because, my club went to play. I gave them my personal aircraft. On their way from Venetia, they had a plane crash. And I lost my football club. I lost some of my goalkeepers. I lost some of my footballers,” he added.

He stated that in 1994, during the Sani Abacha regime, he was also appointed by the government to help raise the money for the team that was used for the World Cup.

“ I was the chairman of the board raising money. And thereafter, I established a football development fund. When I was in charge of that fund, we decided not to sponsor football alone.

“ We sponsored other sports like swimming, we noticed that most other clubs were in support of that position. Some of them didn’t even pay the international dues. So, we were making sure they were there. So, I have always had interest in sports. I like sports so much,” Iwuanyanwu stated.

Beyond football, Iwuanyanwu has extended his influence to sports development on a national scale, notably contributing to the establishment of the football development fund.

Reflecting on the broader impact of sports, Iwuanyanwu emphasised its significance in unifying communities and promoting tourism.

He shared anecdotes of international recognition and the power of football to transcend cultural boundaries, illustrating its potential to foster goodwill and economic growth.

The engineer and businessman pledged to continue championing sports and tourism initiatives, recognising their pivotal roles in national development.

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