The honourable commissioner for information in Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Charles Udo has observed that the state owned Akwa United football club may dominate African continental football with the current motivation and state of the art sporting facility provided by Akwa Ibom state government.
‘Something tells me that maybe at second attempt we can conquer Africa. It’s not mere wishful thinking. I follow football, I have watch every Akwa united match that time can allow me, I believe we play the best brand of football. The management of the team showed excellent knowledge of reading the game. Halfway during last season we had goal keeping problem and they bought a goal keeper that became best player in the AITEO CUP. He transformed the game. ’ He said.
The information boss made this remark at SWAN Sports development seminar at NUJ Press Centre, Uyo. Speaking on the topic last Monday, ‘Communicating Akwa Ibom State Sports Brand’, the former NEPA football Club player charged sports journalist to educate citizens on the economic benefits and social value promotion available in sports.
According to Hon Charles in the last 30 months Akwa Ibom state has risen from obscurity to international prominence especially in football. Akwa United won FA cup twice, Nigeria Super Eagles through Akwa Ibom state support qualified for Russia 2018 with a game at hand. The banker’s brand guru boasted about the enabling environment Akwa Ibom state has offered the Super Eagles through Gov. Udom Emmanuel.
‘Some people asked why spend so much in sports? The sport loving commissioner presses home the fact that one of the 5 point agenda of Gov Udom included job creation. When Nigeria played Zambia, Zambians came with 400 people, they commissioned a local cook for their people, the Cameroonians stayed in a Hotel I never knew existed in Shelter Afric in Uyo, and the owner never knew he will host a national team in his hotel.
Through sports the government has actualized job creation, wealth creation and alleviate poverty. Journalists were also urged to enlighten Akwa Ibomites on opportunities in Sports merchandize, franchise, for Akwa united and promotional coverage of players.
It was also observed that the English premiership isn’t the best league in world football yet most famous coaches like Conte, Guardiola etc are all in the premiership just because premiership is the most publicise league.
Our youngsters who hitherto were involved in crime can see better future in sports.
Hon Charles also noted the benefit of having national U17 coach in Akwa Ibom means better slot awaits Akwa Ibom youths especially with most community football going on in the state.
Finally the commissioner shared that Akwa Ibom is enjoying the benefit of sport tourism as some foreigners who came for watch matches in Uyo are returning for Christmas holiday.
Also encouraging sports coverage among journalist at the occasion was the State NUJ chairman, Elder Patrick Albert who said that there is an enormous advantage for opening Akwa Ibom state to the world. The Akwa Ibom state number one journalist also enjoined SWAN members to partake in the journalist membership validation and biometric capturing exercise going on in the state.
Some sports journalist called for inclusion of indoor hall at the international stadium and acquiring artificial turf for Uyo township stadium. Promotion and investment in non football sports like cricket was equally suggested during the interactive session of the event.
In his address, the Akwa Ibom state SWAN chairman, Mr. Solomon Bassey thanked members for their support and particularly expressed gratitude to the honourable commissioner for finding time to motivate journalist towards helping government actualize their purpose.
The SWAN Week activities continue on Tuesday with football matches among 16 chapels at NUJ Press Centre and Camp 13 five aside football pitches. Other games for the SWAN week include Table Tennis, Draught, Chess, Scrabble and Athletics.
The first football action at Camp 13 will be Atlantic FM vs Insight Chapel. While at NUJ Press Centre, Newsfront Chapel will play against State Information which will feature the Honorable commissioner, Charles Udo play for State Information chapel.