Wednesday, August 16, 2023 3:03 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has feted Rivers Queens Handball Team with N50Million for emerging female champions of the 2023 National Handball Competition, the first trophy to the state under Fubara as governor.
Fubara announced the cash reward to the team at the Government House, Port Harcourt, where the Team led by the Captain, Hamzat Mohammed who also emerged Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, presented the champions’ trophy to the governor.
The State Sports Commissioner, Christopher Green had told the governor the development also marked the first time in the history of Rivers, this coveted trophy for the best team in the National Handball Competition would be won by the state.
Elated at the feat, Fubara told the victorious team, “This success and victory is not just for the team, but for the sports image of our dear state. It shows among the numerous works we are doing, we are also delivering quality sports enhancement projects.
“For this particular victory, the government is supporting the team with N50Million. This money does not belong to Ministry of Sports. It belongs to the team. I’m told it’s a team of about 25 members. You people know I know calculations. So this could also help you (team members) and also your families.
“When we came on board, we were briefed on the challenges you face. We knew if we give you necessary encouragement, you would deliver and we didn’t hesitate to do that. Today, we are happy, those encouragement have delivered this success to us. I commend you.”
On advancing Rivers sports, Fubara said, “We will encourage sports at all levels. We intend to catch them young, rejuvenate sports development from the basic school level to the university, so that talents are harvested when they are still young and not when they are outliving the age of sports.
“You know we have sports age. After such age when you still indulge in sports, you then turn to one of our footballers they bought many years ago. They tested his age and discovered he was over forty years while posing as much younger youthfulness. The sports team had to engage him in their factory.
“Our case would be when young, we show the energy to maximise our skills and talents and by the time we hit our prime, we have won all the laurels, accolades and fame, then we bow out honourably as role models and inspiration to the younger generations.
“So we will continue to supports sports and all Rivers people involved in it, not just for handball, but for the various fields of sport.”
Green, the Sports Commissioner, informed the governor that, “This is the first we are bringing to you. Rivers is not only known for football, but should be known in our sports. You are going to have many more trophies, from basketball, athletics, volleyball and others. We want to be at the top always.
“We have dearth or coaches due to retirement of many in Rivers. I appeal that the challenge be looked into because most of these coaches that come to Rivers are employed as civil servants which comes with bottlenecks of getting them employed through the system.