Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has advocated long term planning and private sector funding as panacea to the dwindling fortunes of sports in the country.
Speaking on 08-09-16 when he received the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Hon. Solomon Dalung and his team on a courtesy and advocacy visit in Asaba, Governor Okowa stated that Nigeria failed to perform well in the last Rio Olympics because there was no consistency in the country’s preparation for the competition, observing that for a very long time the country has depended on the public purse which has contracted in recent times thereby impacting negatively on sports development in the country.
He opined that the country needed to partner with the private sector in sports funding and development.
“Just as we are finding ways to diversify our economy, it is time for us to begin to look beyond the public sector in trying to rejuvenate and create a better impact in sports development, the governor said, adding ” we must critically involve the private sector in funding sports development in Nigeria”.
While calling sports administrators to place emphasis on sports development and ensure long term planning in preparations for forthcoming championships, Senator Okowa said “people look at the competition itself with the aim of winning while the real motive of development of sports is lost, We must identify areas were we have comparative advantage and focus on those areas instead of being jack of all trades and master of none.”
Dr. Okowa disclosed that his administration was committed to sports development because sports is a veritable tool for peace building, noting that with active participation in sporting activities, the youths would be positively engaged.
“We have it as a policy that we don’t buy athletes from other states rather we groom our own talents because that is one of the ways we can encourage genuine development of sports,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Hon. Solomon Dalung commended Governor Okowa for his support and contributions towards sports development in the country, explaining that he was in the state to seek Governor Okowa’s support for the upcoming Under-17 National Youth Games.
There is a saying in the English Premier League that it is when the weather gets cold in England that Manchester United begins to warm up towards the EPL title, a run which usually takes them to the top of the league at the end of the season. The same pattern is startint to repeat itself this season as Man United have not only started warming up towards the titile but are currently on top of the pile, with a game in hand after their victory over Arsenal.
South Korean Captain, Ji-Sung Park’s first-half effort earned Manchester United a hard-fought victory over Arsenal that enabled them to take top spot from their title rivals. The South Korean improvised superbly to head Nani’s deflected cross beyond the reach of debutant goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Wayne Rooney could have doubled the lead but he blazed a penalty over after Gael Clichy had handled.
Arsenal’s best efforts fell to Marouane Chamakh, who missed with a header and had a shot blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger would have been disappointed by the paucity of chances created, although his United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to be eulogising about his side’s performance.
Up until the opening goal the first half could be best described as high octane but rather rudderless.
Wenger criticises pitch after defeat at Old Trafford. From the whistle, both sides showed their intent in wanting to win the battle in a jam-packed midfield, with tackles flying in from every angle.
It was surprising that referee Howard Webb did not making a booking until late in the first half given the number of mistimed challenges.
The first yellow card was shown to Arsenal striker Chamakh for a foul on Nani. Frustration may have caused the Moroccan forward to chop down the United winger, having failed to click with his fellow attackers in the final third during most of the half.
He did manage to work Edwin van der Sar with a tame diving header early on but that was the only time the United keeper was tested during the first 45 minutes.
Arsenal and United took no prisoners with their tackling and closing down but they were guilty of some wayward passing on a skiddy Old Trafford pitch.
However, the home side looked more threatening and had tested the Gunners’ third-choice keeper Szczesny a couple of times with long-range efforts from Rooney and Nani, which he comfortably held.
He would have be lucky to get a fingertip to United’s next effort – a low angled volley from Nani which flew fractionally wide of the Arsenal right-hand upright.
With 0-0 looking the likely scoreline at the interval, up popped Park to ensure United went in on top.
The South Korean scored his fourth goal against Wenger’s side when he arched his neck to meet Nani’s deflected cross and beat Szczesny with a looping header.
It was unlucky for the 20-year-old Pole, but he enhanced his reputation 10 minutes after the break by producing a superb block after Rooney had slipped in Anderson.
Nani, who is increasing his value with every game, had a better chance moments later but fired over from 12 yards after dispossessing a casual Clichy 20 yards out.
Arsenal also wasted a good chance when Samir Nasri’s low angled shot was palmed away by Van der Sar only as far as Chamakh who should have made some space before shooting, but instead had his reflex-reaction shot blocked by Vidic.
The visitors should have paid for the miss when United were awarded a penalty after Clichy slipped and was judged to have handled the ball as Nani attempted to nudge it past him.
Up stepped the usually reliable Rooney, who instead of finding the top corner of the net was closer to finding the top corner of the stand with his wild spot-kick.
That was ugly but Rooney came close to making amends with a thing of beauty late on when he executed a delightful chip which the 6ft 5in Szczesny did brilliantly to tip over.
Arsenal’s defeat means they have won none of their last 11 games against United and Chelsea – that sort of form is unlikely to win them the title.
But Man United is not complaining. They have a tough run-up of mathches in December including a visit to Stamford Bridge to face a wounded Chelsea, who will remember that the suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Man United at the Charity Shield match at the begining of the season.
And so Manchester United has started the legendary march towards a record breaking title win this season. Up United.