By Solomon Nwoke
SPORTS in AnambraÂ Â state may have sufferedÂ neglect in the pastÂ due to lack of commitment from the previous administrators who relegated sports to the background. Governor Peter Obi hopes this should be a thing of the past with the new stadium he built in Onitsha and his resolve to re-engineer sports in the state.
On assumption of office three years ago, Governor Obi put sports development as one of his priorities. He awardedÂ contracts for the now completed stadium. It was commissioned last Wednesday. Another,Â Â also inÂ Onitsha South , isÂ near completion.
With the commissioning of the stadium in Onitsha, sports activates in the state now have a big boost. Aside this, he has a policy to engage retired athletes in the administration of sports in the state. He hopes to tap from their professional expertise.
He has dedicated the Onitsha North Stadium to the memory of late Chuba Ikpeazu, the owner of the first football club – Ikpeazu RedoubtablesÂ in Onitsha.Â â€œSports is a very critical area of our development and the motivation there is that I grew up in that environment as then student of the famous Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha known for producing stars that made this country proud in national competitions.
Onitsha had, in the past, produced great footballers and I am committed to harnessing talents in the state.Â So we are trying to recreate the history of our town and state and I believe it will help us in wealth creation and having the healthiest society, apart from providing job opportunities for our peopleâ€, said Governor Obi.
The occasion which turned out a carnival to all sports lovers in the state both old And young was graced by the presence of Super Eagles Skipper Nwankwo Kanu and former African fastest woman, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi who are ambassadors of the rebirth of sports in Anambra. Both stars organized a two-day coaching clinic for the raw talents in soccer and athletics respectively.
Also present wereÂ the ex- internationals from Rangers and in other sports who gave credence to the event as other side attractions featured march past of various cadet teams, cultural dance , calisthenics, U-13 soccer match among others.