Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Wednesday, implored members of the Super Eagles to play with confidence in the 2018 FIFA World Cup which commences today, June 14 in Russia.
Four players of the team including Alex Iwobi, Joel Obi, Ederson Echiejile and Oghenekaro Etebo hail from Delta State.
Okowa gave the charge shortly after inspecting the on-going rehabilitation work at Asaba Stadium in preparation for the hosting of the Senior Africa Athletic Championship (SAAC) in August this year.
“For our children and the entire national team for the world cup, I wish them well, they must play with confidence, and realise that they stand in and carry the symbol of the Nigerian nation.
“As such, they must go all out and give their best. It is our hope that they do very well. As Nigerians, all we need to do is to pray for the team rather than complain,” the governor said.
He expressed satisfaction with the level of work done by the contracting firm handling the stadium rehabilitation project, adding that he will regularly visit the site to put the contractor on his toes.
“I was here less than two weeks ago, and for those who were with me you can see that there is an appreciable speed in the course of work in the last nine days.
“Obviously the site is very active, you see people working in different areas and it all well coordinated. I am certainly very satisfied with the amount of job put-in in the last nine days. The work has been tremendous and I intend to return back here in another nine days from now.
“While I appreciate the contractor and the various sub contractors, I also hope that they will not think I am relaxing because at the end of next week, it will just be a week to the end of June. I hope that when I come next week, a lot of areas will be shape and we will just be talking about finishing.
“We are looking to ensuring that this stadium is ready at the end of the first week of July which is just three weeks to the competition,” he added.
According to the governor, the stadium will never be under utilised, saying that beyond hosting global competitions, his administration is recreating a lot of sporting activities in the state to groom young talents in football, athletics and other sports.
“It is not all about international competition, also locally, the young ones we are trying to groom from primary school through secondary school to the university, we need to groom them in this kind of stadium.
“Both football and athletic competition we definitely want to partner with the private sector to create a lot of activities that will enable this stadium to be utilised. But for national competitions, I am sure that with the standard they will see at the completion of work, Delta State will be a place to come to,” the governor added.