The Anambra State House of Assembly, on Friday, expressed its commitment to partner and support the state’s football association to develop sports at the grassroots.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Uche Okafor, made the promise when he received the Caretaker Committee members of the Anambra State Football Association, led by the Chairman, Dr Emeka Okeke, in Awka.
Recall that on Aug 6, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) inaugurated a six-man Caretaker Committee to pilot the affairs of Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) for the next three months.
The inauguration was conducted by Ibrahim Gusau, Chairman of Chairmen and member of NFF Board, who represented Amaju Pinnick, President of NFF, in Awka.
Okafor said that sports development at the grassroot was key to successful sporting events and producing superstars for national and international teams.
“As legislature, we are closer to the communities and the constituents, therefore, we have a role to play in terms of fishing out talents in the rural communities and getting a legal framework to carry out your mandate.
“We want to assure you of our support and partnership to help achieve your plans and drive the desired change in football development in Anambra.
“We have budding talents in Anambra, all they need is mentoring and grooming, and we urge you to help develop grassroot feeder teams that would make us proud at both national and international level,” Okafor said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Youth and Sports Development, Mr Noble Igwe, described the visit as a step in the right direction.
Igwe urged the committee to also fashion out modalities to promote sports in schools where children with talents and passion for sports and academics would be trained and prepared for the lucrative world of sports.
Earlier, Okeke, Chairman, Caretaker Committee of AnSFA, said the committee was making efforts to provide the enabling environment for the development of football in state.
Okeke explained that one of their mandates was to organise an election that would bring credible people into the association to oversee the affairs of football in the state.
He said that the committee had started work to also ensure the existence of a Nationwide League One (NLO) standard football pitch in each of the 21 Local Government Areas in the state for amateur football leagues.
“We have sent out people to check out the facilities in the LGAs and they will start work on Monday.
“This project will not be carried out by government alone. We plan to work with the private sector and individuals like you, to contribute to the development of football in their local communities.
“We have started a campaign tagged ‘My Anambra Football Campaign’ to sensitise our citizens on the need to go back to our local football.
“People know Arsenal and Chelsea football clubs but they don’t know the names of their local football clubs. They know the names of international players but they do not know the names of our local players.
“If we do not support our football clubs and players, we cannot grow the football economy and football will not contribute to the GDP of our state like we have in Brazil and other countries, ” he said.”
Okeke solicited the support of the legislature to achieve the committee’s mandate and attract investment in the development and promotion of football in the state.