Tony Okowa unveils plans for Delta sports
• Seeks private partnership for Warri Wolves
• Preaches grassroots sports development
Newly appointed chairman of Delta Sports Commission (DSSC), Tony Okowa, has said that he would not depend solely on government fund to run sports in the state.
The appointment of Tony Okowa as chairman of DSSC was approved by the Delta State House of Assembly on Tuesday. Also on the new board is Neville Bekederemo, who is representing Delta South, Elder Eddington Kuejubola (Delta Central) and Mrs. Chinonye Daphey-Aliyu (Delta North).
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Okowa said the immediate task before the commission was to put in place a solid private partnership structure for Delta sports, particularly the state football team, Warri Wolves, one of Nigeria’s flagbearer in the 2016 CAF Champions League.
Okowa, a former vice chairman of Delta Football Association, was also the chairman of Delta Force FC of Asaba for four years. Before then, he set up a football club, Appeteez FC, where many young players rose to become notable stars.
He said yesterday that his priority would be grassroots sports development instead of the short-term plans of poaching athletes, a system adopted by several states.
“The immediate plan is to put things in place for Warri Wolves to make a good representation for Nigeria in the 2016 CAF Champions League. We don’t want to depend on government alone for funding. I have also made it clear to everyone in the sports commission that we have to go back to the grassroots. The era of everyone seating in Asaba waiting for government money is over. We have to go to the various local government areas to fish for talents and develop the game. Thank God we have a sports loving Governor and the only way to get his attention is to do the work properly,” he said.
In his days as proprietor of Appeteez FC, Tony Okowa was an apostle of players’ welfare.
He said: “That is one campaign I will continue to carry out as a sports administrator. The welfare of the athletes, players and their officials matters so much and as chairman of Delta Sports Commission, we will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, the immediate past chairman of Delta sports commission, Amaju Pinnick, has hailed the state government for the appointment of Tony Okowa as DSSC boss.