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Sports News

Sports Enthusiasts Laud Wike’s Closure of Sports Facilities

A cross section of sports enthusiasts in Rivers State said they have no option than to obey government order on the closure of sports facilities as a measure to curb the spread of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.

Some Sports enthusiasts who barred their minds in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Port Harcourt opined that they have to look for alternative means of exercising themselves in their various places of residents as a way of observing social distance.

They said although it is boring and strange, they have to adjust to the government lockdown order until the pandemic is over.

They commended the State Governor, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike for the proactive steps taken so far to curtail its spread in the state, and urged all to join to fight the virus no matter their political, religion or tribal affiliations.

Fan of defunct Sharks Football Club of Port Harcourt, Peter Ekanem said all must obey the social distance order by the government, adding that at best, they could jog round their premises as physical training in order not to mix-up with other people.

In his comment, Inigbelabia Fubara noted that the effect is regrettable as people needed day to day mental and physical fitness, noting that they have to make sacrifice for the sake of their safety.

Also in his reaction, Jerry Henry said although the ban affected all sportsmen and women, it is for the good of the people.

According to him, the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has done well by taking proactive measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the disease in the state, and also called on the people of the state to support and cooperate with him for the lives of the people he swore to protect positively.

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Ex-Spartans player Explains Passion For Grassroot Players

A grassroot football coach and former player of Spartans FC of Owerri in Imo State, Coach Eugene Aham says his passion to train youths from the grassroot to stardom has motivated him to take to coaching after his glorious moments in Spartans FC.

Coach Aham who made this known in a chat with The Vortex sports correspondent in Port Harcourt said since he left active football, he had gone into training of both male and female footballers in the country.

The Coach expressed joy that most of the players he trained are in great clubs nationally and internationally, stressing that he is delighted by their performances in their various club-sides.

He noted that his aim had been to train the youths to higher level in football carrier, because they need encouragement to excel in their chosen profession, but expressed dismay that there had been no assistance to ginger him.

He disclosed that in 2012, his team, Afrigue Bombers won a local debut against Orlando FC in Port Harcourt and also won the second edition against London FC, adding that 12 of his players namely Augustine obije from Delta State, Maximum Amefule of Imo, Andrew Ofemie of Delta, Muri Agbaji of Lagos state, Ikechukwu Nwaigwe of Imo amongst others are playing in European Leaques.

The Coach also noted that in the China Female World Cup, some of his players like Lucy Black (goalkeeper), Rachael from Delta State amongst others represented Nigeria at the tournament.

Coach Aham, who started his coaching carrier in 1979 in Lagos with FSB Bank FC, also coached Afrigue Bombers of Lagos, Omo Osage female team of Lagos and later with United All Stars of Port Harcourt. He is currently coaching Afrigue Bombers of Port Harcourt.

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Edo 2020: Decamped Athletes Get Pay

The 873 athletes preparing for the National Sports Festival
expected to hold on March 22, in Edo were paid camping and transport allowances
for the 10 days they were in camp. The Federal Government suspended the
festival following the Corona Virus pandemic in the country.

The Vortex Sports correspondent who witnessed the exercise learnt that each athlete was given N1,500 per day for the 10 days with a transport fare of N5,000 each.

Our correspondent also gathered that the coaches, other
officials and sundry staff were given N2,000 per day for 10days and N10,000
transport allowance.

Although, the athletes, and coaches protested the sum given
to them as it was allegedly not what was promised by the sports authorities
before they went into camp, they were pacified that the state government will
still need them when the suspension is called-off.

While discharging the athletes, the Commissioner for sports,
Hon. Boma Iyaye advised them not to relax but to continue with their training
as the festival might hold in no distant time, as soon as a new date is fixed.

Hon. Iyaye enjoined them to report any challenge confronting
them during the period through the Director of Sports, Mrs. Mildred Hart, and
commended them for making the campaign a huge success.

Meanwhile, the Festival Secretary, Chief Christopher Chioma
has expressed appreciation to the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Sports
Commissioner Hon. Boma Iyaye, the Permanent Secretary, Honour Sirawoo and
others for their contributions to the welfare of the officials and athletes during
the camping period, assuring that they would keep the flag of Team Rivers
flying higher whenever the competition is re-scheduled.

However, the Chief Coach of Rivers State Cycling Association
get allowances, Emmanuel Onasanya noted that the suspension of the festival is
for the safety of all athletes and it would help them to intensify their
training for the competition as the 10days camping was not enough compared to
other periods.

Onasanya said he was excited for the allowances paid to
them, but reminded the state government that they were still expecting their
reward from the 2018 Sports Festival in Abuja, and promised of make the state
proud in Edo 2020.

It will be recalled that the 20th National Sports Festival,
Edo 2020 was fixed to start-off on March 22, 2020 in Edo, Benin City.

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Inter-Schools Sports Meet Suspended

The Inter-Schools football competition, a brain-child of the
Special Adviser to the Governor on School Sports Development, Chief Aribitonye
Okiri expected to feature Schools from the 23 Local Government Areas in the
state and all Government approved Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools
in the state has been suspended in compliance with the Rivers State Government
ban on all schools sporting activities in the state in order to curb the spread
of corona virus pandemic.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on School Sports
Development, Chief Okiri who made this known in a chat with The Vortex Sports
Correspondent in Port Harcourt said the ban was necessary to avert the Corona
virus pandemic that is ravaging the country and other parts of the countries in
the world.

He noted that the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had
directed that sporting activities from Primary to tertiary Institutions would
remain banned, until a counter directive was given by the Governor.

The Special Adviser encouraged all heads of Schools, to
adhere strictly to the directive and follow the necessary precautions in-order
to curb the disease from spreading in the state, stressing that prevention is
better the cure.

Okiri further enjoined heads of schools to advise their
pupils and students to observe necessary precautions as directed by the
government and health authorities as only those that are alive could
participate in sporting activities.

He also charged them to observe clean hygene at all times as
to join the Governor in his task to ensure that the Corona Virus Pandemic did
not find its way into the state through sports.

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Suspension of Foreign Leagues Hit Nigerian Bettors

The suspension of professional football leagues across the
globe due to the Corona virus has adversely affected the sporting public
especially youths who depend on betting with league matches for their
livelihood.

Stakeholders who spoke with our correspondent in Port
Harcourt said some youths who usually engaged themselves at various betting
homes staking and forecasting are now back on the streets frustrated.

According to them, many unemployed youths survive through
betting and with the suspension of the league matches, it has sent them to the
streets to carry out odd activities, stressing that it had brought untold
hardship to some families. 

Mr. Ejike Okere said the suspension of the Leagues in Europe
had affected the livelihood of many stakers including operators and they are
not happy as at least 60 percent of them play and win to survive.

Okere opined that most people engage themselves from 8:00am
to 10:00pm since there is no job, pointing out that it had affected them mostly,
and could lead them into nefarious activities.

Another stakeholders, Famous Opaimi-fein said “corona virus
has made leagues in Europe and Africa to be suspended and make youths who play
for survival to be idle as they are now on the roads doing what they are not
supposed to do”.

“Closure of the league has made the youths to be idle as
there is lack of employment in the state and country at large. They engage in
the games to try to help themselves and it took them out of the streets, and
today they are back on the streets doing odd things,” He noted.

Opaini-Fein also noted that the suspension of the league had
brought untold hardship as staking brought succor and kept most youths going,
stressing that it has been very difficult for some youths to manage life as
they depend on it for their survival.

In his contribution, Balafama Stowe said some had formed the
habit of betting, habit is easy to form but hard to break or stop, and the ban
had affected them adversely while others develop interest in watching matches
and pool betting.

Stowe advised that although it would affect them adversely
as there is no alternative or diversified source of livelihood, it would soon
be a thing of the past.

According to him, “it will affect them adversely as some are
into it emotionally, psychologically and morally. I advise the staking public
not to depend on it solely as there is going to be psychological effect because
an idle brain is the devil’s workshop. Its temporary and it will be over by
April, 2020,” he declared.

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Iyaye: Another Era In The Saddle …Sports Gurus Demand More Action

Sports enthusiasts in Rivers State have barred their minds
on what to expect from the re-appointed Commissioner of Sports, Hon. Boma Iyaye
on how to further lift sports to a more enviable height in the state and in the
country.

The enthusiasts who made their views known to our sports
correspondent in a chat said the era of being football commissioner should be a
thing of the past and enjoined him to give equal opportunity to all sports.

According to them, grassroot talent hunt should be given
priority so that Rivers State would be the hub of sports talents in the
country, rather than resort to poaching during competitions.

They noted that Hon. Boma Iyaye is a man of experience and
they accepct him to do better as Commissioner of Sports in Rivers State.

A former  Sharks and
Eagle Cement winger, Inigbelabia Fubara, popularly called “Egbe” said Boma
Iyaye is an old hand in sports with experience who should strive to ensure that
Rivers State moves higher in sports.

“He said, Hon. Iyaye should 
use his wealth of experience to re-strategize to ensure that the state
achieves success in sports, and I strongly believe that with his astute sports
management, the state would achieve its lost glory.”

In her opinion, Miss Jane Lemuel enjoined the Sports
Commissioner to carry all sports along and not football alone by organizing or
bringing competitions that would make the state athletes excel in their chosen
fields, rather than to be abandoned after training with expectation to exhibit
their talents.

Miss Lemuel also appealed to the commissioner to ensure
adequate maintenance of sports facilities as well as security, expressing
confidence that he would use his wealth of experience to make sports thick once
more in the state.

Another sports enthusiast and scrabble player, Sunday Oshodi
stated, “My expectation of Boma Iyaye is that he is the Commissioner of Sports
and not Commissioner of Football or Tennis. Many of us have bias for these two
sports. He should however give attention to other sports, whether mental or
physical.”

“The general welfare of sports men and women in the state
should also be of paramount importance to him. There are still audible
grumblings about the shabby treatment melted to sports people at the last
National Sports Festival, Abuja 2018,” Oshodi hinted.

He further noted that, “Another Sports Festival will hold in
about one weeks time in Benin, Edo State. It is hoped that he will right the
wrongs of the last event this time around. The labourer deserves his wages, so
sports people representing the state should get their full benefits.”

The Chess and Scrabbles master noted that “The State Governor
is fondly called “Power of Sports” (POS) Africa; Hon. Iyaye should know he is
the eyes of sports in the state. He should work towards helping to justify this
appellation of the Governor.”

A Sports journalist, Mr. Baridon Sika said, “I expected the
Honourable Commissioner to be able to articulate the percentage of Rivers
people in Rivers United.  Then the
National Sports Festival is at hand, I will like to know how many are in
training to beat National and International record?

According to Sika, “Governor recognised Hon. Iyaye as an
astute sports administrator, who should be able to identify, promote and
recognize Rivers youths and others in sports talent in the state.

Another sports enthusiast, Elder Fubara Alabo, who is also
the Sports Desk Officer of Universal Basic Education Board said, “We expect
good result as since his presence, Rivers United have been doing better,
although we expect more from him than his last tenure, as we want to see sports
at the highest level”.

“He tried in the last National Sports Festival as Rivers
State came second in Abuja. We want to see the best in Rivers State. As a
Commissioner, he has a lot to do to improve sports even at the grassroot level.
A big role to play to sensitize the grassroot and make sure school sports improve
to get materials and groom stars for the state in youth games,” Alabo said.

“Let him revive School Sports and get athletes from the
grassroots as it is done in other states, and let me conclude by saying that it
was during the governorship of Celestine Omehia that school sports was held
last in 2007,” Alabo posited.

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Sports Institute Holds Inter House Sports 20 Years After

The Rivers State Government has reiterated its determination
to support the Sports Institute of Rivers State (SIRS), Isaka to regain its
lost glory as the school held its Inter-house Sports competition after two
decades.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Mr. Honour
Sirawoo made the assertion during the 7th later-House sports competition of the
Institute held at the Sports Arena, Isaka, in Okrika Local Government Area over
the weekend.

Sirawoo as Chief Guest of Honour, was represented by Mr.
Collins Amadi of the Stadia Authority said the Institute as a parastatal will
not be abandoned in terms of facilities.

He assured that the Ministry of Sports will ensure that the
institute is given its rightful place especially in sports and others and
formerly declared the competition open.

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Aribitonye
Okiri who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on School Sports
Development said the Institute which represents sports and academic pursuit has
written its name in gold, adding that the Rivers State Government is determined
to establish schools sports programme.

Okiri, who was represented by Hon. Omanginma Harry enjoined
the students to regard themselves as future heroes in sports and academics, and
urged the authorities of the school to interact with him as the doors of his
office are always open for them.

He thanked the management of the institute for all their
efforts and called for partnership in sports development.

Earlier in his address, the Director, Sports Institute of
Rivers State (SIRS), Isaka, Mr. Mike Okocha expressed dismay that the 2020
Annual Inter-House Sports Competition is holding 20 years after the last one
was held due to various challenges, pointing out that the challenges will not
deter him from coming out the functions stipulated by the Edict No.4 of 1987 on
the establishment of the Institute.

Okocha further noted that the facilities and equipment of
the Institute called for urgent attention as the school is  out to provide opportunities for the public
to learn recreational skills for physical fitness and be mentally alert.

At the end of the competition, Okrika Local Government
Council Chairman House (Red) came first with 372 points, followed by Isaka
House (Yellow) with 358 points while Naval Superintendent House (Green) chalked
the third position with 324 points and Spiff 
House (Blue) with 312 points occupied the fourth place.

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Edo 2020: 873 Rivers Athletes Hit Camp

No fewer than 873 athletes that will represent Rivers State
at the National Sports Festival in Edo 2020 have gone into camp at the Alfred
Diete-Spiff Complex, Port Harcourt.

The Vortex correspondent who visited the camp observed that
the athletes are in high spirit, training at the various venues with
determination to make the state proud at the festival.

A breakdown of the athletes in camp showed that a total of
72 are for athletics including their officials, 34 for kungfu, and kick-boxing
39 while Volleyball and  swimming have 36
and 46 athletes respectively.

Also in Camp are 29 Deaf athletes, , Para-athletics, 45,
Para-table tennis. 16, Deaf table tennis, 16, while 25 are for Judo and 22
males for Hockey.

Others are 24 Basketball players, 36 Handball players, and
22 Abula players among others.

Rivers State athletes are to leave Port Harcourt for the
National Sports Festival in Edo on March 20, 2020 as the opening ceremony of
the event is scheduled to hold on March 22, 2020.

Speaking with our correspondent during the visit, the
Festival Secretary and Public Relations Officer of Rivers State Sport Council,
Chief Christopher Chioma  promised that
with the zeal by the Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Boma Iyaye and the Permanent
secretary Mr. Honour Sirawoo, the team will surely come home in flying colours
at the end of the festival.

Chioma said it is normal not to expect 100 percent comfort
while in camp, but as soon as both helmsmen visited the camp, the challenges
such as electricity, water and incentives they reported were taken care of.

He noted that the state Director of Sports, Mrs. Mildred
Hart is also working relentlessly to see that welfare of athletes is given
deserved attention.   

Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Monday
received the Torch of Unity with less than two weeks to the commencement of the
2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) in Benin City, Edo State.  The torch has continued its journey to
Bayelsa State.

At a ceremony held at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre in
Port Harcourt, Governor Wike, represented by the Commissioner for Sports, Hon.
Boma Iyaye received the torch from the South-South Zonal Coordinator, Federal
Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Sylvester Essiet.

Governor Wike, while welcoming the Ministry officials,
emphasized once again the state’s leadership role as a stakeholder in the
Sports Festival history.

“This torch is one of the keys to the hosting of the
National Sports Festival. As you are all aware, Rivers State is a major player
and stakeholder in the affairs of the NSF. We are always counted among the best
when it comes to the National Sports Festival. We also know that the National
Sports Festival is like the Olympics of Nigeria. It goes a long way to bring
unity among our youths. It binds our youths and encourages our youths,” said
Governor Wike.

He assured the state’s athletes of all necessary support
ahead of the Festival, insisting that the state will not be going to Edo to
participate alone but to make a good showing.

“We’re not just prepared to go and compete in Edo 2020, we
will make sure we are counted among the best in the comity of States,” he
stressed.

Also at the ceremony were the new Permanent Secretary in the
state’s Ministry of Sports and President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria
(SWAN), Honour Sirawoo, officials, coaches, and athletes.

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Edo 2020: Rivers Abula, Kick Boxing Teams Promise Gold

The Rivers State Abula Team who won gold medals in the male,
female and mixed-doubles at the National Sports Festival in Lagos in 2012 has
boasted that they would defend their titles.

The State Abula coach, Hakeem Kareem in a chat with our
sports correspondent after a training session in Port Harcourt said among most
team that the Abula team that is ready to show-case their skills and make the
state proud at any tournament, noting that their greatest challenge had been
lack of encouragement.

Coach Kareem noted that their training pitch at the Alfred
Diete-Sports Complex Port Harcourt is not conducive as after the renovation of
the complex, there is no pole to hang the net, stating that they are still
using equipments from the last sports festival in Lagos, and needed urgent
replacement.

He disclosed that Abula, a traditional sports was invented
in 1984 and played at Idi-Araba Secondary School, Lagos but become a
demonstration game during the National Sports Festival in Markudi in 1996,
while at Imo 1998, it became a scoring game and Rivers State won gold in male
and bronze in the female category.

The Coach also hinted that at the National Sports Festival
in Bauchi 2000,  they defend their gold
as Rivers State participated with their male team only, and in Edo 2002, Abula
won Silver while in Abula 2004, they won gold in the male category.

He also disclosed that at Gateway festival in Abeokuta in
2006, Rivers got silver, in Kaduna (Kada) 2008, the male team garnered gold
medal while in 2011 Garden City Games, the state won gold in the three
categories and in Lagos 2012, the team also won the three gold medals at stake.

The Abula Coach expressed dismay that they did not
participate in the Abuja festival due to some states that did not feature their
Abula team.

He however noted that they are preparing for the stressing
that at the just-concluded South-South Zonal Eliminations Abula qualified for
the three categories as the defending champions and are ready to keep up that
spirit come Edo 2020.

Also, a rising female Kick-boxer in Rivers State, Queen
James Asecheomie has expressed optimism that she will clinch a gold medal in
the forthcoming National Sports festival tagged “Edo 2020.”scheduled to take
place in benin, capital of Edo State.

Queen James Acheseomie who disclosed this to The Vortex
Sports correspondent after a training session at the Rivers State Sports
Council Complex, in Port Harcourt township said she had intensified her training
in order to achieve her set dream.

According to her, with God and the intensive trainings by
Coach Juliet, she would not let the state down.

The Okrika-born kick boxer opined that as a former wrestler,
who won two gold medals during the Rivers State Government organized Garden
City wrestling and the of Africa Wrestling 
Championship all in Port Harcourt opted for kick-boxing in order to
further show case her talents in martial.

She hinted that since she developed interest for kick-boxing
in 2018, she had won Silver  in the
recently organized Marco Kick-Boxing Championship 2020 held in Port Harcourt,
but that with her improvement on the sport, the gold medal is her target for
the state come at the national sports festival.

The athlete noted that although they lacked training
facilities to keep them in top form, like kick-boxing bags, helmet (Head gear),
Chin guard, pad and others, she would not be deterred from achieving her dream,
and appealed to the authorities and other spirited sports philanthropists to
come to their assistance and help government to develop kick-boxing in the
state with the sports kits and training facilities.

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Valentine’s Day: Club Organizes Football Derby

As part of activities to mark this year’s Valentine Day, a
fitness club, Kenz fitness club organized a novelty football match between
married men and team Manchelors (Singlemen) last Friday at the Approved School
Field, Borikiri, Port Harcourt Township, which ended 2-2 draw.

In a chat with our correspondent in Port Harcourt, the
organizer of the encounter, Nduak Samuel said the Val-day celebration fiesta
was aimed at bringing both married and single men together to recreate, have
fun and mark the day in a grand style.

Samuel disclosed that the event was his contribution to
bring people together rather than the usual visit to clubs for immoral
activities and other social vices, stating that the match would ginger the
Manchelors (Singles) to emulate the married men and have their partners
soonest.

Quoting the Senior Pastor of Salvation Ministries, Pastor David
Ibiyeomie, who opined that if a man is over 30 of age and single he is a
Manchelor and should have a partner rather than get into immoral activities,
single men could get their spouse at appropriate time and place like the
football encounter.

He advised other fitness club and organizations to let the
world know that Valentine Day is not just for drinking, smoking, committing all
sorts of immorality that is against the scripture because God is love, as such
should enjoy love through football and other recreational activities.

According to him, children were not left as there was a
pop-corn stand for them to fill belong, and let the single men and women know
that they are due to have their own children as well.

Samuel hinted that the celebration was also be used to mark
the birthday of some personalities like Hon Opekerebia Iriso-Owubo, Ozor
Anugom, Solomon  Shedrack, Lawal  Abdulahi, Chimamkpa, Goddy and Elizabeth
Thomas a.k.a : Black  Diamond who  also took the kick-off of the match.

He disclosed that lots of fun, music and dancing feature at
the event with Explorers, Ebi swag winner of Matina Dance Hall season and Zanku
Dancers, while the Guest Artists, Bala Boy and Black Abino who is one of
the  great artists in Borikiri also took
the centre stage at the celebration.

Players on the side of the married men include; Barasin
Kunkala, Aribibia Owunari, Oyibo, Iniesta, Emamanuel, Santiago among others
while Team Manchelors had Iyowuna Edward, Ozor Anugom, Minabo Furo, Eyak
Samuel, Chimaka Tony Cruz, Oyoyo and New man.

Pere Ebitemi, Mustapha Jack-Rich and Harmony Bassey were
Special Guests at the occasion.

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