The Akwa Ibom State government has affirmed its readiness to host next week’s African Cup of Nations qualifier between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Squirrels of Benin at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
The Akwa State government has also inaugurated 30 sporting associations as a move to improve the fortunes of the state in next year’s sports festival in Benin.
The state’s Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Monday Ukoh, said the state already has structures and organizational capacity for such high profile games while calling on Nigerians and Akwa Ibom people not to forget in a hurry the state’s capability in previous similar assignments.
Ukoh added that the Eagles were expected in Uyo from Sunday, while arrangements had been concluded to ensure a hitch-free encounter.
The commissioner explained that the selection of membership of the associations was without political considerations, adding that their passion and interest for the different sports were considered in their appointments.
“Let me also restate that the duty of the associations is advisory and for supervision. They are not to usurp the functions of the coaches and sports secretaries,” he added.
According to him, 30 of the sports associations would be among the 32 to feature in next year’s National Sports Festival in Benin City
Some of the associations inaugurated were Rugby, Kick Boxing, Kung
Fu, Karate, Baseball, Gymnastics, Aquatic Sports, Para-soccer, Scrabble and Golf, among others.
Responding on behalf of others, the chairman of Scrabble Association and commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Iniobong Essien, called for improved attention and funding to other sports.
Essien regretted that the low attention given to non-football sports had continued to rob the state of medals and discouraged the development of talents in them. He appealed to the commissioner to turn a new leaf.