Sports in Edo State will not develop, unless State FA boss

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By Mike Oboh

Sports in Edo State will not get the desired results if the present situation as administered by the state government is allowed to continue, the state FA chairman, Hon. Henry Osaru Asemota has said. Asemota who spoke with Daybreak Sports in an exclusive interview in Abuja said the shaking foundation laid by the government with the establishment of a non functioning State Sports Commission , will cripple all the efforts geared towards revitalizing sports in the state.

He said it was quite unfortunate that the commission was constituted without the required prerequisite for it to take decision which can help in sports development in the state.
“As it is today you would not ask a man who is squatting to back you, the commission is squatting, the body has not been commissioned properly, as it is right now the chairman’s hands are tied we only have an acting board chairman. He is not even given the free hand to run the commission, Barrister Dudu Orumen as I know him is a very proactive and  organized person.”if given the free hand to run the commission, we would have had moved ahead, but I know that once the commission is properly constituted and handed over to him I promise you , he would do wonders,” Asemota said.

He said the hindrance was  from the government as it was  their responsibility to set the commission to put things in place full time, saying “but as we speak the office of the Deputy governor is in charge of sports, until that issue is addressed to put a round peg  in a round hole we remain where we are.”

The FA boss said the state will return to it glorious days in sports locally and internationally if the enabling  environment is created for the terming youths in the state to excel in sports. On football development in the state, Asemota said since it was passion as a  product of grassroot development, as he started football at a very tender age. he will ensure the state get back to the top with various programme lined up by the association.” I played the primary school cup, I played the principal cup, I played for Sanko Stars of those days I went to Sweden several times to win trophies and  laurels or the State and  country but I can assure you since I came back I  have a lot of programmes  that would have developed the youths but no supported from the government, I have never written to the government for assistance or support for any program that was approved not even a kobo, even as small as five thousand naira to buy pure water.”

I have been trying to sustain the FA through all means that I know, my first one month I organized an under 13 cup, came in on the 3rd July 23rd I played my under 13 tournament which about 40 teams were involved and a winner emerged. This year because of COVID19 we could not play that tournament and next year I hope we are going to play it and also tag of the chairman’s cup for the under 13 and under 15.” he said. He also said that there are others programmes  like  State Youth League  would commenced, under 13 ,under 15 and under 17 ,saying “because we have youth development programs for the state we want to  have a state team, a state academy where by from the state youth league we are training player’s for the state team just as its been done at the national level so that when they call us for an youth tournament we don’t have to be going up and down we already have players for under 13, under 15 and under 17. But as I speak to you right now there is no support, no encouragement ” He said the Association has written more than letters to various companies and Individuals  in Edo state to Lagos state for sponsors but because of the COVID 19  not much was achieved and hoped next year will be better for the drive to achieve it set target.”.
I came n in June and mist of the companies have already closed their budget, so by December I started approaching them, they said by February they would put the FA on notice on what they would do for us, immediately when Covid 19 came nobody talked about sponsorship anymore but am hopeful that by 2021 we would have one of those sponsorship for one or two programmes.

“We have a state league right now we have a state league board it was never there, when I came in the two weeks the state league has already started I now setup  a small committees  to run the league now we have a proper league board, now  playing the league  home and away, we don’t want a situation whereby the league would  be played in just one week we want it to be like the premiership. We are going to have state league division one, state league division two, state league division three. “Let’s work on what we have and work on them in place properly, by 2022 we would come out with the amateur 2 and armature’ 3 at the state levels,” he said. Asemota said about 22 teams across the state will kick state the state top league when it commenced He said  each team will play matches both home and away, so that it can take at least six  months because he want football to get to all hooks and crane in the state. “In the challenge cup last year, what I did was I made sure in the semi finals was played outside Benin, that was the first time in more than 20years a team from Edo centre played the finals of the state. He said he was doing everything possible to reaching out to  Edolites  in the county and beyond to key into the state football association programmes.”I have met with ministers, senators and house of representatives for  them to .know they need to support this football in Edo state, we can not leave it for government  alone, we just need something to kick up with and we also need that backing. If the government gives us a note to banks for support us is also part of their social responsibility, but so far so good nothing as such is coming, we’ll keep on asking the government for support keep reaching out to private individuals and companies for support.,” Asemota said

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