Barely one week to The Sun World Cup seminar holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, sports administrators and stakeholders have shown excitement at the event.
With theme: “That Super Eagles may excel in Russia 2018 and Beyond,” the seminar, holding on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, will be hosted by the Rivers State government at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt. The seminar has been endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The seminar will address well-thought-out topics that would help the Eagles’ campaign in Russia and football in the country. Such topics as: “Super Eagles: Towards a Successful Russia 2018 Campaign” and “Galvanising Support for the Super Eagles: The Role of Government, Media and Other Stakeholders,” have been carefully selected and assigned to ex-Super Eagles coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde and Mallam Danladi Bako, former Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Expressing his delight at the seminar, one of the best sports technocrats in the country, Chief Patrick Ekeji, who confirmed his participation, said the seminar was timely.
He remarked that the choice of Chief Onigbinde and Mallam Bako as speakers was great as “Baba Onigbinde is a man that has seen it all in our football. Danladi Bako is a veteran broadcaster that has been involved with football for over three decades. I think we are in for a good event.”
A member of the 2002 World Cup national team, Julius Aghahowa, applauded The Sun for organising the event, saying results of the previous Nigerian appearances could have been better if brainstorming seminars like the one being organized by The Sun had taken place.
Aghahowa remarked: “I’m not surprised this is coming from the stable of The Sun. It’s a laudable idea, which all well-meaning and football loving Nigerians should support.
“I also hope other corporate bodies could emulate the newspaper outfit and provide the team with all the supports they need to soar at the World Cup. So, I commend the organisers of the seminar.
Journalist-turned football administrator, Emeka Inyama, also praised The Sun for organising the seminar, adding that the events would help in the advancement of the Nigerian football team for better performance next month at the World Cup and even beyond.
Said he: “The Sun has won my heart. I have no excuse not to be in Port Harcourt for the seminar.”
Mallam Nasir Danladi Bako, who will present a lead paper at the seminar, expressed deep appreciation for the gesture of The Sun in organising the seminar.
The seminar is very timely and a bold attempt at galvanising public support and awareness for Super Eagles, he said.
Commending the organisers, Bako, the originator of ‘Morning Ride’ and Master Sports on NTA2, said: “More importantly, the effort is a brainchild of one of Nigeria’s most widely read newspapers.”
National Chairman of Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club, Reverend Samuel Ikpea, said The Sun World Cup seminar was coming at the right time.
He pledged the support of the supporters club, declaring: “On behalf of myself and the members of the NFSC, we want to thank The Sun Publishing Limited for this wonderful initiative. We believe also, that it would definitely point the way forward for our football.
“We also want to assure the organisers of our unalloyed support at all time, as partners in the progress of Nigerian football.”
The governor said Rivers State government’s interest in supporting the Eagles explains its acceptance to host the national team’s final match before travelling to Russian in Port Harcourt.
In endorsing the seminar, the Federal Ministry of Sports, in a letter by Nansel Nimyel, on behalf of the Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalong, to the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, said: “I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter on the above subject dated 23rd March 2018, in which you are proposing to host a conference to further drum up support for the national football team, the Super Eagles, towards their successful participation at Russia 2018 World Cup competition.
“I am further directed to convey to you the Honourable Minister’s approval and endorsement of the said proposal.
“While looking forward to working with your organisation towards a successful outing by the Super Eagles at Russia 2018, please accept the renewed assurances of the Honourable Minister’s esteemed regards.”
The NFF, in its letter by Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, General Secretary, said: “We heartily present to you very warm sporting regards of the President, Executive Committee members and Management of the Nigeria Football Federation.
“We are pleased to inform you that the NFF has decided to endorse the conference and also afford your organisation strategic partnership for the conference designed to awaken the nation’s consciousness and create the enabling environment for Super Eagles to excel at the FIFA World Cup finals.
“The NFF is enamoured by the conception of the forum as an all-inclusive one to facilitate exchange of information and ideas by all the stakeholders as well as chart the course for the Super Eagles to soar in Russia.”
Speaking on the seminar, The Sun MD, Osagie, said the event was the company’s “modest way of supporting the efforts to mobilise Nigerians for the soccer event.”
According to him, the World Cup, in particular and football generally are serious businesses, which require the input of everybody and therefore all hands must be on deck to support the national team.
Said Osagie: “The World Cup is a serious business. From the day the football competition starts, the global attention will be on Russia. We want Nigeria not to be just a participant but one that would make serious impact at the competition, hence we are organising this conference.
“With the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Sports and the NFF, and the fact that Rivers State government has graciously agreed to host the conference, we have been gingered to make it worth the while.”