SPORTS: C'River To Float Soccer Academy 

Jun 20, 2024 - 14:51
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SPORTS: C'River To Float Soccer Academy 

By Ekanem ASUQUO

 Cross River government is set to establish a football academy in the state.

Commissioner for Sports Development in the state, Hon Agnes Atsu dropped the hints while outlining her  achievements in the sector  within the last one  year.

According to her, "the concept of a soccer academy is part of the elaborate agenda of the present administration to rejuvenate our sports sector.

" We have rich sporting antecedents comprising track and field. 

"To begin with, Calabar is globally celebrated as the birthplace of football and cricket in Nigeria. The first goal by Nigeria in the first-ever international soccer competition way back during the colonial era was scored by a Cross Riverian, Late Ewa Henshaw. He was also the first skipper of Nigeria's national team. 

"Our state also produced the first-ever goal  keeper of the national team in the person of Sam Henshaw Ibiam of blessed memory.

" Ewa Henshaw is the first skipper to win the FA Cup then known as the Governor's Cup. There was a time we dominated the national teams with great players like Etim Esin, Uwen Ekarika, Friday Ekpo, Egan Adat, Paul Edum, James Etokebe, Etta Egbe, Leo Moffi, John Okon Ene,Ndiyo  and Christopher Edem. Our Pelican Stars is the flagship of female football in Nigeria. 

Therefore, "this Academy is expected to produce future stars to replicate this astonishing feat.

"We can't afford to lose such a rich football culture. That explains why Governor Bassey Otu is launching a collaborative Initiative to partner with private investors to recalibrate our sports sector."

The commissioner said the Academy is designed as part of the alluring edifices expected to spice up the ultra-modern Sports Hall to be cited in Akamkpa, in Cross River South.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project is expected to be performed by Governor Bassey Otu later this year. 

On the state of the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Atsu said plans are in the advanced stage for a total facelift and overhauling of the edifice including the hostel and swimming pool recently retrieved from an illegal lease transaction

In her words, given the paucity of funds facing the state, we have interfaced and sealed a deal with investors who are going to drive most of the innovative programme to resuscitate our sector"