The Chairman of the Cross River State Sports Commission, Otuekong Orok Duke is worried that sports in Nigeria is being driven by poverty instead of well-articulated programmes for talent discovery and development.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Sports Commission’s Football Clinic at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Duke said for years people went into sport because of poverty, adding it should not be so as sport was a universal game that brought people together while keeping the body and soul healthy.
“We should move away from the notion that poverty fires sports. This is something the government should step in and take over and not to allow sport in Nigeria to be driven by poverty,” he added.
He regretted that in Cross River, “we do not have enough funds to run sport as in the last five years, we have not been able to attend any sports festival.” He, however, assured that the state would be at the next youths sports festival in September in Ilorin “whether the state government sponsors or not. We will go out and solicit for funds.”
On the football clinic that was kicked off by the member representing Calabar/Odukpani Federal Constituency, Mr. Ita Mbura, Duke said, “this event in the next five years will take place in Calabar… the young ones are ready to do sports but need to be encouraged.He thanked Mbura, the member representing Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South Federal Constituency, Pastor Essien Ayi, Royal farms and others for sponsoring the football clinic, saying it would encourage youths to take active part in sports and move away from social vices.
Both Mbora and Ayi said they decided to sponsor the football clinic as a way of giving back to the society and at the same time promote sports in the state for the collective benefit of everyone.The clinic, which attracted over 250 children between the ages of six and 12, is expected to last for two weeks.