….. ..Desires more for Imo Athletes
FROM = EVEREST EZIHE, Owerri
In view of the recent tremendous development and transformations in sports infrastructural facilities in Imo State by the Shared Prosperity and 3 R mantra administration, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Imo Chapter has hailed these giant strides and advised the government not to relent.
The Association in a press statement endorsed by Messrs Everest Ezihe and Tunde Liadi, the association’s Chairman and Secretary respectively also thumbed up the Imo Government as led by Senator Hope Uzodimma for the new look Dan Anyiam Stadium Complex, Owerri, and its beautiful state-of-the-art facilities.
According to them “Imo SWAN recalled that one of the fundamental points the Association drew the attention of the state government to in her recent communique was for Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri to be given a facelift so that sportsmen and women in the state can fully utilise its sporting facilities.
We are satisfied with the renewed Dan Anyiam Stadium with an in-built world-class VIP, neatly arranged seats, and with one of the best dressing room facilities in Nigeria at present.
Imo SWAN is also commending the State government for its timely intervention into the goings-on at Heartland FC especially the payment of the USD56,000 to offset the debt owed Heartland FC former player, Santos Da Costa Ivo Jorge and as such upturning, the transfer ban placed on the team by FIFA. It was a laudable feat because it made it possible for Heartland FC to complete the registration of the players they signed at the start of the season” they informed.
The association further pointed out that “While the Imo SWAN is commending the Imo Government for the laudable capital projects being done in the area of sports infrastructural development, the body is also drawing the attention of the government to some important issues in the state which could hinder sports growth and development if not exigently addressed”.
One of such issues the association is having concerned, is the upcoming National Sports Festival(NSF) that is slated to start in the coming days in Benin City, Edo State. Imo SWAN appeal for the prompt release of funds to enable the state’s athletes to fine-tune their preparations for the championship. This will no doubt ensure that the state athletes go into the championship with high hope and the mindset of making the National Sports Festival the best they have attended in terms of the laurels and accolades they will be bringing to the State.
They further advised on the need to pay more attention to athletes final preparations before embarking on the trip to Edo State and also ensuring that the state-contingent comply with the directives to have their athletes and officials vaccinated over a week before arrival for the Championship and also make necessary arrangements to ensure that all athletes and officials take COVID-19 test about 72 hours before embarking on the trip to Edo State as directed by LOC of the event.
Imo SWAN also implores the State Government to promptly settle the outstanding debts of players and officials of Heartland FC to ensure that the club’s current spate of good performances is sustained and make advanced budgetary provisions for them.
It’s important to inform that Heartland FC have remained unbeaten in the league in the past four games but have drawn three of those matches because of distractions over accumulated unpaid salaries, match bonuses warranting them to have boycotted training sessions since the start of the week despite having a key game against Kano Pillars this weekend. They have also refused to travel for the away game until the needful is done.
We passionately appeal to the state Government to expedite actions and make funds available to the team so that off-the-pitch distractions won’t derail Heartland FC’s target of returning the state to CAF Club competitions at the end of the season.