Edo will give Team Delta a good fight, says Ebewele
The Coordinator of Team Edo ahead of the 2020 National Sports Festival, Brown Ebewele has declared that the defending champions, Team Delta, won’t find it easy overriding other states when hostilities begin in a few months time.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, Team Delta had been the commander-in-chief, winning the National Sports a record of six times in eight appearances. Delta won at Bauchi 2000, Abuja 2004 and Gateway 2006 under former governor James Ibori, won twice during the regime of former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan at Kada 2009 and Eko 2012 before emerging victorious at the last edition, Abuja 2018, under governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The stage is getting set for Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, and Ebewele says Team Delta might have to go the extra mile to be able to defend its title.
“Unlike before when Team Delta will jump into the lead from the first day of the festival and maintain its lead till the end of the Games, Edo 2020 will be a different scenario,” Ebewele told The Guardian yesterday.
“This time around, Team Edo will be ready to give a good fight in virtually all the events. I am very sure other states like Lagos and Rivers are warming up to wrestle the top position from Delta.”
In 2002, when Edo State hosted the National Sports Festival during the regime of former governor Lucky Igbinedion, Ebewele’s never-say-die-attitude and doggedness on and off competition venues played in key role in the state bulldozing its way to the top of the medals table. Though, many states lodged numerous complains of events and results manipulations against the host Edo State.
Now, Ebewele, who is the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) feels that the 2020 Sports Festival would present a different picture compared to the 2002 edition.
“Edo 2020 will be fun all through,” he said. “Apart from the sports rivalry between Edo and Delta playing out, the athletes from other states will want to use the sports festival to announce themselves to the sporting world. I can boldly say that Edo 2020 will turn out to be the best in recent time going by the level of preparations by virtually all the states.”
The Guardian recalls that at the last edition of the festival in Abuja 2018, Team Delta amassed an astonishing 163 gold medals, 88 silver and 101 bronze medals to beat the other participating teams to the number one position after 10 days of action. Rivers State finished a distant second with 69 gold, 58 silver and 57 bronze medals, while Edo State finished third with 47 gold, 41 silver and 53 bronze medals.