Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu (right), presenting the Outstanding Football Personality of the Year award to FROT Group Chairman, Frank Momoh, during the just-concluded Edo FA Awards.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu, has revealed the state’s plans to build mini stadia in select primary and secondary schools across the state. This, he said, is part of its efforts to revive sports in the state. The state will also send well-trained coaches to the schools to ensure that the facilities are used to achieve the desired result.
Speaking at the just-concluded Edo FA Awards held in Benin, Shaibu regretted that the state, which was once the country’s number one provider of sportsmen and women, has fallen so low that it can no longer boast a club in the Nigerian premier league.
He said, “Edo will regain its position at the top of Nigerian sports very soon,” adding that the state government will utilise the infrastructure left behind by the Adams Oshiomhole administration to raise quality athletes.
“We will build tartan tracks, football fields, swimming pools and other facilities in the mini stadia that we are planning for schools that still have good expanse of land. That will be the starting point.
“Everybody is happy to be here to see our legends and I want to assure you that more legends would be developed by our administration. The only way to celebrate these legends is to produce stars, who will recreate or even surpass what they achieved for the state and Nigeria.”
On Bendel Insurance Football Club, which have been languishing in the lower rungs of Nigerian football for over a decade, Shaibu said the government has a strategy that would see the team back among the elite of the country’s football.
“We want to see a systemic change, which would be short term, medium term and long term. It would ensure that Bendel Insurance could stand on its own and compete successfully without government patronage.
“We also have to discuss the number of teams we need in this state. We will build the enabling environment for teams to survive without government support. That is why we are planning to build quality sports structures in the schools across the state,” he said.
At the 2016 Edo FA awards, various categories of sportsmen and women, as well as philanthropists were rewarded for their contributions to the growth of football in the state.
Among the recipients were former national team players from the state, who bagged the Outstanding Footballers of Our Time award. The deputy governor was honoured with the Grassroots Football Developer of the Year award, while sports philanthropist, Frank Momoh, bagged the Outstanding Football Personality of the Year award.