The Cross River State House of Assembly has said that it will soon create a budgetary provision for talent hunt to return the state to its number one position in football and other sports.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Williams Jones Eteng, who stated this while speaking with some newsmen in Calabar yesterday after performing the kick-off of the fourth edition of the North-West Calabar Municipal Football Tournament, said: “The state House of Assembly will do its bits in that regard by simply creating a budgetary provision, especially encouraging the sports commission with budgetary provision for talent hunt.
“That is all our responsibility. We cannot legislate on this but we can encourage full budgetary provision.
“The first football team came from Calabar. In the national league now, we cannot find our name anywhere, but when we see tournaments like this, we need to encourage. For us in Cross River, we will encourage the sports commission to take up its responsibility.
“From what I have seen now, the state can reclaim its position in the nation if we keep to the model of catching them young and going forward for the best talents. I have seen a lot of talents today and I think if we keep it up, we will discover a lot of players that will play for Cross River State.”
“Other corporate organisations in the state should emulate the North-West Petroleum Company in sponsoring competitions and community-based initiatives as this. This is what we keep preaching that if big companies in this state do things like this, we will be better off as a state. This is what we pray for. This is what say every day and even our laws keep emphasising that every company should add value to the society where they are doing business.
Chairman of the tournament organising committee, Ntufam Donatus Etim, said that since the tournament started, it had helped in checking crime rates.
He said: “When football used to be mentioned, Calabar was often in the front-burner but it has changed from that record and football has lost its place in the state. We no longer have school sports where schools play against themselves and even community games where these talents are harnessed.
“But thank God for this tournament and a big thanks goes to the Managing Director and Chief Executive of North-West Petroleum and Gas for their magnanimity over the last four years as far as this tournament is concerned. We can tell you that some other states have borrowed a leave from what we have done with this tournament in our community. Like in Delta State, this is going to be their second year of this similar tournament. We are also grateful for the media coverage this tournament has enjoyed as well.
“We urge other companies and even capable individuals to also look into similar sports tournament sponsorship like this. It should not be only football. Let other sports be given attention. It will surprise you how much this state and the nation will generate as foreign direct investment and exchange if we have players from the state playing overseas.”