Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has challenged players of Rivers United Football Club to make the state proud by doing everything possible in winning the cup of the forthcoming Confederation of African Football (CAF) tournament.
The Governor said if they achieved that feat, their lives would change and the state would celebrate them.
Wike made the promise when he presented Yutong buses, ambulances and other vehicles to the Rivers United and the Rivers Angels Football Clubs at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
He said, as players, they had the opportunity to write their names in gold while promoting the image of the state, and they should not compromise it.
“I believe that when you have an opportunity, you shouldn’t miss it. This is the time, not only to win laurels for the state, but also to print your name in gold. Let it be known that you’re part of the team that brought laurels and trophies to this state.
“Let me assure you that the State Government will not relent to give you all the necessary support that you require to make you bring trophies at the end of this season.
“I hear you have CAF Match ahead of you. Let me say to Rivers United FC, if you win the CAF Cup, your life will change. I will not say now what I will give to you. Just win the trophy first.
“The same applies to Rivers Angels. Win the trophies, be the first to go and play a tournament in Africa, then your life will also change.”
The governor also motivated the teams with financial rewards should they secure any away win.
He told them to always show that they are truly Rivers wherever they go for any competition, and be determined to emerge as the best at all times.
“As a motivating factor, if you go and win Enyimba, and come back, we will give you N20 million. Henceforth, for the Rivers United, any match you win away, you’ll have a bonus of N10 million. The same amount applies to Rivers Angels.
“Continue to show other teams that you’re really Rivers. You don’t need to take second. You need to take first all times.”
Wike acknowledged the efforts of the sporting teams under the leadership of the State Commissioner of Sports, for using sports as catalyst for development.
“I believe that this is the right time our people are using sports as a catalyst for development. You have provided the state of the art luxury bus for the Rivers United FC. The coaster for the girls is not allowed. Give them luxury bus too. I will not allow that discrimination.
“The two teams, as you’re leaving, they will go with two ambulances. To the technical crews, you’re also important because you help the teams to succeed. Whatever benefits they get will be extended to you.
Wike further announced the donation of a coaster bus to the Supporters Club for always providing moral boost for the teams.
In his address, the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye said they are grateful to Governor Wike for providing the clubs with brand new luxury buses and other vehicles.
Giving his remarks, the National President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), Honour Sirawo noted that Governor Wike had rehabilitated the training pitch at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium which is in use now, and had also not relented in supporting other levels of supports to sports-related activities.
Also speaking, the Chief Coach of Rivers United Football Club, Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma, said Governor Wike made it possible for them to be exposed professionally when they were taken to Madrid in Spain plus other incentives that they had continued to enjoy.
On her part, the General Manager of Rivers Angels Football Clubs, Port Harcourt, Matilda Otuene, said Governor Wike was not only gender friendly but a real father who had improved welfare conditions for them. She said the club had been enabled to retain a foreign-based player.
In his speech, the Captain of Rivers United Football Club, Port Harcourt, Austin Festus, promised that the club was poised to win more trophies for the state, which would also serve to reciprocate the supports that they had enjoyed from the governor.