.Desires more for Imo Athletes
Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Imo Chapter has hailed the giant strides of Imo State Government in the area of sports infrastructural developments in the Eastern Heartland.
Imo SWAN in a press release jointly signed by its Chairman, Everest Ezihe and Secretary, Tunde Liadi thumbed up the Imo Government led by Senator Hope Uzodinma for the new look Dan Anyiam Stadium Complex, Owerri, and its beautiful state-of-the-art facilities.
Imo SWAN recalled that one of the fundamental points the Association drew the attention of the state government to in her recent communique was for Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri to be given a facelift so that sportsmen and women in the state can fully utilise its sporting facilities.
We are satisfied with the renewed Dan Anyiam Stadium with an in-built world-class VIP, neatly arranged seats, and with one of the best dressing room facilities in Nigeria at present.
Imo SWAN is also commending the State government for its timely intervention into the goings-on at Heartland FC especially the payment of the USD56,000 to offset the debt owed Heartland FC former player, Santos Da Costa Ivo Jorge and as such upturning, the transfer ban placed on the team by FIFA. It was a laudable feat because it made it possible for Heartland FC to complete the registration of the players they signed at the start of the season.
While the Imo SWAN is hailing the Imo Government for the laudable capital projects being done in the area of sports infrastructural development, the body is also drawing the attention of the government to some important issues in the state which could hinder sports growth and development if not sorted out now.
One of such is the upcoming National Sports Festival(NSF) that is slated to start in the coming days in Benin City, Edo State. Imo SWAN appeal for the prompt release of funds to enable the state’s athletes to fine-tune their preparations for the championship. This will no doubt ensure that the state athletes go into the championship with high hope and the mindset of making the National Sports Festival the best they have attended in terms of the laurels and accolades they will be bringing to the State.
We will enjoin the Imo Government to pay more attention to athletes final preparations before embarking on the trip to Edo State and also ensuring that the state-contingent comply with the directives to have their athletes and officials vaccinated over a week before arrival for the Championship and also make necessary arrangements to ensure that all athletes and officials take COVID-19 test about 72 hours before embarking on the trip to Edo State.
Imo SWAN also implores the State Government to promptly settle the outstanding debts of players and officials of Heartland FC to ensure that the club’s current spate of good performances is sustained.
Heartland FC have remained unbeaten in the league in the past four games but have drawn three of those matches because of distractions over accumulated unpaid salaries, match bonuses and allowances. Information available disclosed that they have boycotted training sessions since the start of the week despite having a key game against Kano Pillars this weekend. They have also refused to travel for the away game until the needful is done.
We passionately appeal to Imo state Government to expedite actions and make funds available to the team so that off-the-pitch distractions won’t derail Heartland FC’s target of returning the state to CAF Club competitions at the end of the season.