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Shaibu declares Edo ready to host National Sports Festival

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
17 February 2020   |   4:30 am
Edo State’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu at the weekend declared that the state was ready to host the National Sports Festival from March 22 to April 4, 2020.

Edo State has promised that the 2020 National Sports Festival would be second to none before it. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI.

Edo State’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu at the weekend declared that the state was ready to host the National Sports Festival from March 22 to April 4, 2020.

After a thrilling performance during the third Edo Sports Festival, which came to an end at the weekend, Shaibu said he has been convinced beyond doubts that the state was ready to host the rest of the country.

In his closing remarks after a thrilling all-Etsako football final, which ended 2-0 in favour of Etsako Central against Etsako West, Shaibu revealed that the state had been able to achieve its set goal with the Edo Games, preparatory to the National Sports Festival.

According to the deputy governor, who featured for Etsako West in the men’s football final, the objective has been achieved as new talented athletes have been discovered to strengthen Team Edo.

“The Edo Sports Festival was used to select our athletes for the 2020 National Sports Festival, which we are hosting. It also gave us the ample opportunity to test logistics and facilities.

“During the games, a lot of surprises sprang up in different sports, including swimming and athletics. That was a part of what we wanted and that is what we got.

“That means, we now have new athletes added to the established ones. That also means that at the National Sports Festival, we will be seeing new athletes representing us.

“For us, that is the beginning of the return of sports to the native land, Edo State.
“Like the Governor said during the opening ceremony, Edo Sports Festival has now become an annual event in the state’s sports calendar.

“You are aware that we are refurbishing and building sports facilities in the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and after the National Sports Festival, we are continuing with the building of 20 mini-stadia across the 18 Local Councils of the state.

“We are also going to build three mini-mega stadia, one each of the three senatorial districts. The one in Edo South to be in Etete; that of Edo Central Senatorial District to be in Ekpoma; while the one for Edo North Senatorial District will be in Etsako West Local Government Area.

“By so doing, we are bringing sports to the grassroots. Beyond this, we will have four of the stadium around Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium to serve as practice ground to completely meet FIFA standards.”

While congratulating the winners and all the participants at the Edo Games, the deputy governor assured those selected to represent the state at the National Sports Festival that they would soon be invited to the camp for final preparation.

Earlier, the chairman of Edo Sports Commission and LOC to the Edo Games, Godwin Dudu Orumen had rated the Edo games as ‘Mission Accomplished’.

He said, “Let me start from the end… our mission was accomplished. We got new faces (athletes) to increase the strength of Team Edo. We had the opportunity to test our organisational skills, to test a system in terms of logistics and efficiency and that will enable us correct the few things we need to correct.

“The fact is I am sure the National Sports Festival is going to be a spark,” Orumen said.

The six-day eventful Edo Sports Festival ended with Ikpoba-Okha Local Government emerging overall winner with 100 gold medals and 111 aggregate medals. and were followed by Owan West and Egor Local Councils.