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Philanthropist Seeks Law To Sustain Real Madrid Academy

A sports philanthropist, Captain Adedoyin Williams, has called for a pragmatic functional policy for youths sports development.

Captain Williams who made the call in a radio programme monitored in Port Harcourt said such policy could be realized through the revival of school sports and cadet championship.

According to him, reviving grassroot sports development would rejuvenate the state as sports hub as talents abound are rusting away due to lack of sports programmes that would fish them out.

He noted that reinvigorating the Local League would also help expose budding talents that will become future stars for the country and advised the sports authorities and the Nigeria Football Federation (WFF) and the technical crew of the Super Eagles that enlistment into the national team should not depend on Europe-based footballers alone.

Captain Williams who is also the proprietor of WIlbros Football Club, Port Harcourt appealed to corporate organizations and sports loving individuals to complement government efforts by promoting a sports of their interest to further fish out talents for the development of sports in the society.

The Sports philanthropist also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for ensuring that the dreams for establishing the Real Madrid Academy is achieved despite challenges, adding that the Academy when functional would boost football development.

He however called on the Governor who is Power of Sports in Africa to put in place a solid policy guidelines that would ensure the continuity of the Academy even after the present administration.

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EPL Matchday 5: Arteta Reunites With Pep

…As Merseyside is Divided

After a long and winding international break, the Premier League is back for matchday 5. The 20 teams will compete over the course of three days for this round of matches.

The weekend’s action kicks off with a bang, as league-leaders Everton host 5th placed Liverpool for the first Merseyside derby of the season..

Everton are on top of the log, and they need just a point to stay there. Liverpool could displace Everton from first position, but they would need to win by at least four goals and then hope for favorable results for that to happen.

7th-placed Chelsea welcomes 11th-placed Southampton to Stamford Bridge later on Saturday. Chelsea convincingly eased past Crystal Palace last weekend with Ben Chilwell, Kurt Zouma and Jorginho (twice from the spot) getting on the scoresheet. Southampton comfortably beat West Brom courtesy of goals from Moussa Djenepo and Oriel Romeu.

Another big game sees 4th-placed Arsenal travel to Manchester to meet 14th-placed City, as Pep Guardiola reunites with his former assistant Mikel Arteta.

City were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Elland Road before the international break, as Raheem Sterling’s opener was cancelled out in the second half.Arsenal beat Sheffield United 2-1 a day after City’s draw, as Bukayo Saka scored his first goal at the Emirates and Nicolas Pépé secured the three points.

City can only reach 9th place with a win against the Gunners. Arsenal could finish the matchday as league-leaders, but they would need Everton to lose by a decent margin for that to happen.

The final clash on Saturday sees 9th-placed Newcastle host 16th-placed Manchester United.

Newcastle beat Burnley 3-1 as Allan Saint-Maximin scored and assisted a goal each while Callum Wilson bagged a brace.

United were thrashed 1-6 by Tottenham last weekend when Bruno Fernandes’ early penalty was quickly replied to – and in some style.

Newcastle could reach the runners-up spot if they win and get a lot of help in the form of favourable results. United can not go higher than 10th spot no matter what, and even that seems unlikely. A loss, on the other hand, could see United slip into the bottom three for the first time in over 30 years after the opening matchday.

6th-placed Tottenham host 10th-placed West Ham for a London derby in Sunday’s headline matchup. Tottenham spanked Manchester United for six two weeks ago, with Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier getting a goal each while Son Heung-min and Harry Kane both bagged a brace.

West Ham surprisingly eased past Leicester, as goals from Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen helped them onto a 0-3 triumph.

Tottenham have a chance of reaching second place if all those who are above them in the table falter, but an entry into the elusive top four should suffice for now. West Ham could go as high as third if they get a lot of help from elsewhere, but their focus should be to close in on the European spots.

The last of the weekend’s action sees 3rd-placed Leicester host shock runners-up Aston Villa. Leicester lost 0-3 to West Ham as aforementioned. Villa decimated Liverpool two weeks ago thanks to an Ollie Watkins hat-trick, a Jack Grealish brace and a goal each from John McGinn and Ross Barkley.

Leicester could go to first place for the first time since 2016 if they win and Everton lose in the Merseyside derby. Villa are similarly positioned, so they too good reach the top spot for the first time in nearly 30 years with a win.

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Viewing Centres’ Operators Vow To Obey COVID-19 Rules

As the Rivers State Government reviews the ban on cinemas and public places, operators of sports viewing centres in Port Harcourt have vowed to observe COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

Speaking with our Sports Correspondent in Port Harcourt, some operators said they had been facing great hardship since its closures over six months ago.

According to them, since markets and other public places had been opened, their business outfits ought to be considered as it had been a source of livelihood and survival for them.

Mr. Jude Hart said the viewing centre he operates had been his means of survival since he left University, adding that it had helped him take care of himself and solve other challenges as a young graduate.

In his reaction, Chief Oxford Amaechi stated that they were ready to observe COVID-19 protocols if  Governor Wike lift the ban on viewing centres, which is a source of income and also engage many people meaningfully.

Mr. Chuks Onyema said the lock-down of viewing centres in the state had caused untold hardship and suffering that he could no longer live a normal life because the entire family have been facing perilous times.

Also speaking, Mr. Tubonimi Braide wondered why other public places had been opened except viewing certres and night clubs, stating that they would comply with the COVID-19 protocols.

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Applications Flood Rivers Real Madrid Academy

Over 1,000 applications for admission have been sent to the  Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcour, even with a formal request yet to be advertised.

Rivers State Sports Commissioner,  Hon.Boma Iyaye stated this when he visited the academy  to assess the progress of work on the football pitches at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.

 Iyaye who was on the inspection with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Sir Honour Sirawoo and members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria in Rivers State, said the Academy   will produce a future generation of football superstars comparable to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Iyaye said the academy was comparable to any in the world in terms of facilities, content, curriculum, product, and expressed satisfaction with the quality and pace of work so far, adding, “I never thought it would be this huge when we started this project. I’m short of words to thank the Governor (Nyesom Wike), he has made sure that funds are provided for this iconic project and I’m sure that our indigenes would be proud of this football academy,”

“You have seen the hostels, the classrooms and all other facilities being put in place, this is a great legacy and we thank the Governor for what he has done. If some of us had this opportunity, perhaps we would have done great in football,” Iyaye said

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on the Real Madrid Football Academy, Barrister  Chris Green, noted that the methodology of the academy was comparable to the best in the world.

“This academy will provide for the future of our youths, bring them out of the woods, create jobs and wealth for a vast majority of them. This will be a place for serious business, where the students would be given the best of content,” he said.

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Golfer, Others Hail Lift on Sports Activities

A cross section of sports enthusiasts have hailed the Federal Government and the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for lifting the ban on sports facilities.

The sports enthusiasts who barred their minds in a telephone interview with The Vortex Sports Correspondent in Port Harcourt said they were excited as sporting activities will bounce back as they play in line with COVID-19 Pandemic  guidelines.

They noted that with the development, youths would also be engaged meaningfully from indulging in social vices but warned that people should not take things for granted but ensure that the regulations guiding the Covid-19 rules were strictly obeyed.

A Golfer in the state, Mr. Asembo Timon opined that the lifting of the ban on sports facilities like Port Harcourt Club Golf section was a thing of joy as most golfers thronged the section for the first time last Friday after months of ban, to exercise themselves.

Timon said as age is telling on some of them, they exercise to keep fit and be alert to carry out other activities, and hailed Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in sports development.

He also commended the Captain of the Section, Joseph Taouk for maintaining the course and enjoined members to always obey Covid-19 Pandemic guidelines for their safety.

Also speaking, a Tennis Player, Hakeem Kareen said although it was boring staying at home without exercise, things were coming to normal as the lifting of the ban would give sport men and women opportunity to start training and exercise themselves.

According to him, sports is good for health, body and soul as it enable people especially the youths not to indulge in crime and criminalities.

In his reaction, a foremost Sports Journalist in the state, Mr. Isaac Mba opined that the lifting of the ban on sporting facilities was a good development, adding that people should do the needful by obeying the Covid-19 protocols..

Mba noted that sportsmen have been yearning for the re-opening of the facilities.

He added that it would keep the youths meaningfully engaged and keep away from vices as future leaders and also lauded the State Governor, Nyesom Wike on his passion for sports in the state.

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Nsirim Charges New SWAN Exco On Developmental Sports Reportage

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has congratulated the newly elected Chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Jim Opiki over his election.

Welcoming the new SWAN Chairman, Pastor Nsirim urged him to be forthright in his new assignment of piloting the affairs of Sports Writers in the State to the envy of his counterparts in other States of the country, noting that it’s one legacy he needs to be focused on.

“As I welcome you to the new assignment you voluntarily and rightly took upon yourself, let me also use the opportunity to remind you that when you find yourselves in leadership position as this, your focus should be service on to God. This is because, if you aim to satisfy people, you may end up not pleasing many. But if you focus on carrying out your duties to please God, you are more likely to end up pleasing and satisfying more people than you can imagine”, he said.

The Commissioner noted that like every other aspects of journalism, sports reporting has also undergone various levels of development, especially in this digital era.

“Just as there is Developmental Journalism in general terms, there’s also Developmental Sports reporting, which requires sports writers to be development-oriented while reporting sports in the State and country at large. This means that as sports writers, the membership of SWAN are expected to know, for instance, that they are required to do everything within their powers to ensure that they support all Government’s policies and programmes on sports by giving it the required coverage” he stated..

Nsirim further used the opportunity to state unequivocally that he is open to any programme of SWAN that can bring even the minutest form of development to the State, “which is what His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stands for, and will do everything possible to achieve”.

At the  long awaited election of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Rivers State Chapter  Jim Udede-Opiki of the Independent Monitor Newspaper  beat his opponent, Mr Peter Abaje of the African Independent Television (AIT) to emerge winner.

Udede-Opiki polled 20 votes as against Abaje’s 12 votes as announced  by the Returning Officer and the Vice President of SWAN,South South,Zone Bonny Nyong.

Inaugurating the newly elected Excutive at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre in Port Harcourt,the South-South Vice President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Bonny Nyong,  charged the newly elected executive of SWAN, Rivers State Chapter to be committed, upgrade and carry every member along in the course of their duties.

He further tasked the newly elected Chairman, Udede-Opiki to allow every officer function in his position and refain from usurping other officers’ duties.

In his acceptance speech, the newly elected chairman, Udede-Opiki, thanked all members for the confidence reposed in him, and pledged to run an all inclusive administration.

He thanked members for their support, stressing that without members he cannot function as Chairman.

“I use this opportunity to thank all the members and promise to bring all members together to move SWAN Rivers forward.We will work as a team. I know I cannot work alone. There are no losers in this election, everybody is a winner,” Opiki said.

Other officers elected are Sarah David as Vice Chairman, Chukwudi Ejimofor, Secretary, Solomon Wokoma, Treasurer and Barth Ndubuwah emerged as Financial Secretary.

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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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