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Stakeholders fault new sports policy in Ebonyi

By The Citizen

Sports stakeholders in Ebonyi have faulted the state's declaration that its sports policy is indigene-based.

In an opinion poll, the stakeholders said in Abakaliki on Friday that such a policy contributed to the poor state of sports in the state.

They added that the policy had also adversely affected the state's image and the welfare of its youths.

Chief Obinna Ogba, a former Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), said those in charge of sports in the state were misinformed.

“The government should realise that sports is the most viable sector of the nation's economy after oil and it does not condone discrimination of any sort,' he said.

Chief Ephraim Alinta, a sports administrator, noted that the situation had virtually destroyed sports in the state.

“The present administration on assumption of office in 2007 disbanded Ebonyi Angels and Ebonyi Queens football clubs on the ground that most of the players were not from the state.

“Since then, the state cannot boast of any club side even in the amateur level or even the one with only Ebonyi players.

“There is no place in the world where only indigenes of a state or area represent it in sporting competitions, as this shows the level of nepotism in the state's affairs,' he said.

Mrs Gloria Okpara, a trader, however, called on the private sector to take over sports management in the state by investing in the sector for the benefit of the youth.

“With the private sector floating new clubs or sponsoring athletes to national competitions, the indigene issue will be non-existent and the youths will be offered opportunities for harnessing their potential.

“It will also reduce unemployment as the youths will be positively engaged while those who excel will be motivated for improved performance,' she said.

The state's Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Chike Onwe, had told newsmen in Abakaliki that only indigenes of the state would be compensated if they represented it in national competitions.

Onwe added that the state government could not recognise the feat of Amarachi Amalagha, a weightlifter who had won laurels for the state because she was not an indigene.

Amalagha had won gold medals for the state at the 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos and the recent National Weightlifting Championships.