Ebonyi youths on Saturday, marched through major streets of Abakaliki to appreciate Governor David Umahi for floating a new football club for the state.
The march tagged, ‘one million-man march’ to appreciate the formation of Salt City FC, was also used to thank the governor for approving the state’s hosting of national youth games-south east elimination series.
The state Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, Charles Akpuenika who led the march, said the club’s formation was significant after the disbandment of Ebonyi Angels FC by the preceding administration in 2007.
“The youths especially those engaged in sports, appreciate the governor for offering them the opportunity of utilising their talents for sporting glories.
“Football action will return to Ebonyi to the delight of fans as all arrangements have been concluded for the club’s smooth take-off.
He also said that governor was being appreciated for approving the state’s hosting of the national youth games- south east zonal elimination series.
“Sports was relegated to the background before the governor took over office in 2015 but the sector has been revamped to the benefit of teeming sportsmen and women in the state.
“The state’s teams are ready for the zonal elimination series and we hope to represent the zone in all the events we would compete,”.
Ben Okike, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, urged the youths to utilise the opportunity provide by the new football club to be positively engaged.
“They should take the governor as a role model because he is youth friendly and attaches excellence in all his endeavours.
Emmanuel Utobo, Director of Sports in the state’s sports council said that the state’s athletes had been training intensively since July to ensure optimum performance at the elimination series.
“We would select the best athletes to represent the state and win laurels at the national youth games,”.
Kama Kay, Head of Sports development in the ministry, said that the state will be competing in football, basketball, volleyball, handball, cricket, among others in both male and female categories.
Raymond Okoro, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Youth Congress commended the governor for his giant strides in sports and pledged the congress’ support to the sector.