The Bayelsa state government has signed an agreement with Hideas Plus Limited, a sports consultancy firm, and organizers of the National Principal’s Cup competition among secondary schools in the country, to identify and groom young sports talents for the state.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at Government House, Yenagoa, on Friday, the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, expressed delight over the agreement as he noted that the development was coming amidst plans by the government to raise another professional football team for the state.
He added that the State government’s plan to establish another football team was to brighten the sports fortunes of the state.
A statement issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, quoted Ewhrudjakpo as expressing the belief that the partnership would be mutually beneficial to the firm and the state.
Noting that sports had contributed greatly to the overall development and unity of the country, the deputy governor said the deal provided an opportunity for the state to make steady progress in sports development, and that Bayelsa was also ready to host the Principal’s Cup competition.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon Daniel Igali, said the partnership was to ensure that talents discovered in the Principal’s Cup competition would be groomed to form the nucleus of the nation’s future teams.
He pointed out that the terms of the agreement made it clear that the State government would not put any funds into the project, instead the firm would scout for sponsorship from the organized private sector for the next three years.
The commissioner thanked the Deputy Governor for the effective leadership he had displayed in sports administration since assuming office in the state.
The Managing Director of Hideas Plus Limited, Mr Tony Pemu, said his sports consultancy firm had organized the Principal’s Cup for the past six years, with Zenith Bank as key partner and sponsor.
He said the firm planned to develop a standard training pitch for any secondary school that emerged champion in each state and groom the talents discovered through the competition.
Highlights of the ceremony included the signing of the agreement by the state Attorney General, Mr Diriyai Dambo (SAN) and the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Daniel Igali, in addition to the presentation of a jersey to the Deputy Governor by Mr Tony Pemu, the Managing Director of Hideas Plus Limited.
In a related development, the Bayelsa deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has expressed satisfaction with the ongoing emergency repair work at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, who was at the sports facility to inspect the renovation work ahead of Sunday’s CAF Champions League match between home side, Bayelsa United FC, and a team from Guinea, noted that the state would meet its target before Sunday, if the current pace of work was sustained.
He said it had taken several years since a side from Bayelsa last participated at the continental level and, therefore, commended Gov. Douye Diri for his hard work and commitment to sports development in the state.
While calling on the people to turn up en masse on Sunday to cheer up Bayelsa United, Ewhrudjakpo expressed the hope that the home team would once again make the state proud in Sunday’s match at the Samson Siasia Stadium. (NAN)