The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Southeast Zone, has expressed worries over the collapse of the sports sector in the five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
The body said this in a communique issued after a meeting of chairman and secretaries of state chapters and national officers of the association in Awka on Jan. 10.
The communique was jointly signed by Tunde Liadi, Chairman Communiqué Drafting Committee, Chimezie Anaso and Sampson Orji, the Secretary and member respectively of the committee.
SWAN said the poor performance of Southeast states at the just-concluded National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State, was indicative of the poor fortunes of sports in the region which it said used to be home to sporting excellence.
The body of sports journalists blamed the development on the lackadaisical attitude of the governors in their various states.
According to SWAN Southeast, after taking a critical look at the state of sports in the zone, “we express satisfaction with the participation of the states in the zone at the just-concluded NSF, Asaba, Delta State, but noted with concern, the unimpressive performances.
“We observe that governors of Southeast states have exhibited a lackadaisical attitude to the sports sector in their various domains and called on them to take sports seriously and fund it appropriately.
“We call for the revival of grassroots sports at the state and zonal levels with the aim of getting the zone back to its pride of place.
“We encourage states in the zone to participate in the forthcoming National Youth Games and call on governors to support their contingents with needed logistics early and adequately,” it stated.
SWAN commiserated with the Imo state government and family of late Chukwuemeka Igboanugo, the boxer who died during the NSF in Asaba.
SWAN Southeast appealed to governors to have a good reward system for sportsmen and women to serve as a motivation and check the ugly trend of poaching of athletes in which they have invested much in.
“We call on the Imo State government to immortalize the late Chukwuemeka Igboanugo and adopt his young family to ensure his children don’t bear the full consequences of the unfortunate loss of their breadwinner.
“We called on Anambra and Ebonyi State Governors to endeavor to float state football teams by adopting an existing one or creating one from scratch.
“We are concerned over the dwindling fortunes of Imo State-owned Heartland Football Club and call on the state government to do all it can to ensure that the club returns to the elite football division as soon as possible,” it stated.