Rivers Angels FC of Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s representative to the Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League in Cote D’Ivoire, have been promised N1m per goal scored at the competition.
Amb. Desmond Akawor, the Special Guest of Honour at a sendforth organised in honour of the club, made the pledge on Wednesday at the Alfred Diette-Spiff Sports Complex, Port Harcourt.
Akawor, who is also the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers, made the pledge on behalf of the party.
He said that the pledge was to motivate the players.
He urged them to see football and sports generally as a huge business and not only as entertainment.
Akawor told the players to see their representation of Nigeria as an opportunity to secure their future.
“It is great that it is happening at a time there is a sports-loving man as the governor of Rivers.
“It’s only a man like Gov. Nyesom Wike that will invest in Real Madrid Football Academy to prove his love for sports development,” he said.
Akawor commended the Rivers Ministry of Sports for effective performance, and urged the female players to do their best to excel.
“You must sustain what we have, and not bring down the bar; the place is a familiar place; so, you must come back with success.
“You are the representative of Nigeria, you must exhibit the greatest discipline and move as a team.
“Comportment is key and means a lot: Don’t be deterred until the laurel is brought to the state.
“The state will definitely honour you once you are able to secure the laurel,” he said.
Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, thanked Wike for commitment to sports development.
Iyaye said that the governor had always responded to requests of the ministry. “We requested for a Coaster Bus, he granted a Luxury Bus.
“We can see his investments in Real Madrid Football Academy, our children can now play football and be educated.
“There should be no excuse for failure, there is nothing like second best, everything has been provided for you, allowances, accommodation, etc.,” he said.
The official said that the club must see the competition as a serious business.
“We are going there for business and not for a show or jamboree, we must succeed.
“We want to conquer Africa, we are already champions in Nigeria, the only thing we can do for Rivers Goverment is to qualify for the next stage,” he said.
The Special Adviser to the Rivers Governor on Real Madrid Football Academy, Mr Chris Green, said that Wike believed in competence.
Green, who is also the Chairman of Rivers Football Association, urged the club to achieve success.
“This is one opportunity by God to change your lives, do your best to get to the next stage.
“You are better than them, go for victory, you can do it, work as a team, that is the key,” he said.
Green said that Wike had approved training of 10 Rivers boys with the amateur side of Real Madrid FC of Spain.
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers Ministry of Sports, Honour Sirawoo, described the sendforth as unique.
Sirawoo said it was unique in the sense that the team was the greatest in Nigeria and first to qualify to represent the country in WAFU.
“This is a special project because sports is a development agenda of Gov. Wike; as such, this celebration is unique as a dividend of democracy,” he said.
The General Manager of Rivers Angels FC, Matilda Otuene Onyiloha, said it was a God-given privilege for her to lead the team.
Otuene-Onyiloha described Wike as a gender-friendly governor who had been providing for the female football club.
“I lost words for what the commissioner showed us – the package we are going to Cote D’Ivoire with – we have the best welfare package.
“Hotel provision is superb, we are going by air, we were paid everything in dollars; so, we must deliver,” she said.
The CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifier in Cote D’Ivoire will begin on July 24 and end on Aug. 5. (NAN)