Port Harcourt – Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers says Rivers United Football Club will train in Madrid, Spain to prepare for the 2017 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
Rivers United finished second in the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) with 60 points to secure the CAF competition ticket.
Wike who gave the assurance at a dinner party in Port Harcourt in honour of the team on Saturday also promised cash rewards for the players and officials.
While the players and other officials will receive N500,000 each, club’s Head Coach Stanley Eguma will receive N1 million.
The governor also announced the donation of a big bus and a coaster bus to Rivers United and their Supporters Club respectively.
“Rivers United have done extremely well. They did not disappoint us. So, we must support them to come top in the continent.
“In spite of the economic challenges, we will ensure that our boys are exposed by going for their training outside the country in Madrid, Spain.
“We will do everything to equip them for the continental challenge. Rivers United must win at the continent,” he said.
Wike also said Rivers as a state came first and second in the just-ended NPFL season because the title winners, Rangers International FC, were coached by an indigene of the state.
“Let me congratulate first our dear brother, Imama Amakpakabo, who has made Rivers proud by leading Rangers to win their first trophy after 32 years.
“For me, Rivers came first and Rivers came second. So, whatever we say here will also affect him,” he said.
Wike commended Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, for understanding the football terrain and bringing about the result the state was celebrating.
“There are people who know a certain terrain and you must allow them to be there, so that you achieve what you want to achieve.
“So, I am not in doubt. Now that the team is going to the continental level, Iyaye will not disappoint us,” he said.
The governor also commended coach Eguma for knowing and doing his job right.
He charged Iyaye and Eguma to immediately work out whatever would be needed to start early preparation to win the CAF Champions League.
“I want you to go all out and ensure that you put in place whatever that is needed to make the state proud. Prepare your budget and let me get it in the next two weeks.
“I will give you all the necessary support. Do not blame me if you fail to come up with your needs on time,” Wike said.