Okoronkwo Gives Lifeline To Imo Cricket Team
From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
As part of his vision to ensure overall transformation and development of sports in Imo State, Hon. Emeka Okoronkwo (Agujiegbe) has given a lifeline to victorious but demoralized Imo State Cricket team by motivating them with cash and assuring them of subsequent government support and encouragement.
Okoronkwo who’s the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports gave this moral and physical booster on Tuesday when the gallant team led by Hon. Rodney Ajaelu, the Sponsor, Chief Coach and Chairman Imo State Cricket Association of Nigeria together with the State Director of Sports, Mr. Fidelis Emeana paid official solidarity visit to the Commissioner at his Ministry’s Secretariat office along Port Harcourt Road Owerri.
Ajaelu who is also one-time Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the State said the essence of the visit is to fraternized with the Commissioner and his team on ways to move Cricket as an enviable sports forward in the State and to present the trophies and laurels they have won as the South East Secondary Schools Best Cricket Team for the past 3 consecutive years as well as the nation’s second best U-17 Cricket Championship Competitions for 2 years now.
He informed the Commissioner of their planned trip to Abuja in the next 3 weeks for the 2023 National U-17 Cricket Championship as they are poised to defend the trophies in which for two years they have been 2nd best but expressed their determination to come first this year if giving the needed support and encouragement.
The Chairman lamented that for years now they have been frustrated by lack of encouragement and patronage from the people, local and State governments while appealing for change of heart.
Ajaelu solicited for the State Government support so as to motivate the players who are mainly secondary school students and to boost the sports in the State.
He commended the management of Government Secondary School, Owerri for providing them standard training and competition pitch and for making the game of Cricket a traditional sports of the school.
The Chief Coach canvassed on the need for at least 2 or more schools in the State to adopt the sports as their own traditional sports noting the sports as energetic money spilling and world-class game.
Responding, Hon. Emeka Okoronkwo, congratulated the players for the feats they have achieved as well as the coaching crew while commending the management for their courage, sacrifices and determination despite lack of government and corporate patronages.
Okoronkwo said it point blank that Government assistance for now is inevitable considering the efforts and achievement they have so far recorded.
He further enjoined them to be disciplined and committed in whatever endeavor they’re involved noting these as the hallmarks for success and progress.
The Commissioner reiterated that the Ministry is not only interested in promoting football but also other sporting events and activities.
While also assuring them of his patriotic desire of ensuring that Governor Hope Uzodimma is acquainted with their sporting feats he advised them on the need to always inform his office early whenever they have a competition to honour.
The Commissioner described Governor Uzodimma as sports loving Governor that has the capacity of galvanizing the other South East Governors into having interest in the sponsorship of the zonal competitions.
He applauded Lady Chituru Nwaozuzu, the African record holder in Para Table Tennis for her dexterity, patriotism and examplary leadership and assured her that very soon the State will accord her the needed recognition.
Adding her voice, Mrs. Chioma Ibeziem, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary described the Commissioner as a compassionate sports administrator, goal getter and astute lover of sports who she insisted to have set the pace for realistic sports development and transformation in the State.
Ibezim informed that she’s equally an old girl of Government College Owerri by the virtue of her husband graduating from the Secondary school and played Cricket actively there and then with the nickname “Parima” .
She expressed happiness with their giant strides in the game of Cricket and reassured them of the Ministry’s commitment towards the collaborative partnership of uplifting the game.