General news

SWAN mourns Lobi Stars Head Coach, Ogbeide



The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Enugu State chapter, on Tuesday expressed shock on the sudden death of Lobi Stars Head Coach, Solomon Ogbeide.

It would be recalled that Ogbeide died on Monday morning, after he slumped, and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but was declared dead on arrival by a doctor on duty.

Norbert Okoli, Chairman of SWAN in Enugu State, told the News Agency of Nigeria , that the news of the demise of Ogbeide was devastating to football lovers and those following his rising profile.

Okoli said that SWAN was even more saddened as his career as sound football tactician “is recently being appreciated by football administrators and sports writers nationwide.’’

He noted that Ogbeide brought a lot of improvement and enterprise to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), where his club is currently doing well.

“We are sorrowful about the demise of a rising star, who has contributed a lot to the growth of Nigerian football as well as touched the lives of many football players within and outside the country.

“Ogbeide’s death was a great shock, which nobody saw coming.

“As a group, SWAN, our heart-felt sympathy goes to the entire football family in the country as well as Benue people and his immediate family,’’ he said.

Okoli urged his family and entire Benue, owners of Lobi Stars, to take solace on the fact that Ogbeide lived a good life and impacted positively on football his chosen profession.

He led the team to the group stage of the CAF Champions League this year, after helping the team to win the NPFL title last season.

Edited by Obike Ukoh


Sustain Ihedioha’s blueprint on sports development, administrator urges Imo governor



A seasoned sports administrator, Fan Ndubuoke, has appealed to Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo to sustain his predecessor’s blueprint on sports development.

Ndubuoke, the immediate past Chairman of Imo Sports Commission, made the appeal during an interaction with members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Friday in Owerri.

He said that Uzodinma’s predecessor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, had a clear vision on sports development.

Ndubuoke called on Uzodinma to implement some lofty policies of Ihedioha’s administration on sports development.

He said that Ihedioha’s administration established Imo Sports Commission aimed at eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with the `old order’.

He urged the governor not to allow politics to kill sports in Imo, in the interest of the people.

On the crisis in Heartland FC of Owerri, Ndubuoke said that the problem was traceable to greed and selfishness.

Ndubuoke, a former Heartland FC Chairman, said he ran the club with N8 million monthly subventions and won trophies for the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that state government has yet to register Heartland FC players for the new season as directed by League Management Company, due to the crisis.

The state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Dan Ogu, had recently announced the dissolution of Heartland FC’s Interim Management Board but the board Chairman, Babatunde Ezekwem, claimed that the commissioner lacked powers to dissolve the board.

According to Ndubuoke, the Ezekwem-led board ought to cease to be when the government established the sports commission through a law.

“The Interim Management Board was a child of circumstance; it was introduced when the government was waiting to perfect the law establishing the sports commission,” he said.

Ndubuoke, who expressed worry at the crisis, warned that it might lead to a setback for the club, if not urgently tackled.

According to the sports administrator, the way to sports development in Imo is through the sports commission.

He urged Imo Football Association to play a ‘fatherly’ role in resolving the crisis.

“I call on the FA Chairman in Imo, Mr Amanze Uchegbulam, to caution some of his members on the roles they are playing in the crisis in Heartland FC,” he said.

He also urged SWAN members not to be biased in reporting sports activities and the crisis in the club.

“Don’t allow membership of SWAN to be an all comers’ affair. I left a formidable SWAN both in Imo at the national level; I want you to maintain that.

“You should use your various media to educate and inform the public properly; I beg you to be impartial and productive in your job,” he said. |

Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Ijeoma Popoola
Source: NAN
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Political interest responsible for lingering crisis in Heartland FC, club chairman says



Chairman of Heartland Football Club Management Board, Charles Ezekwem, says the major problem setting the Owerri-based club back is political interest from some appointees of the Imo government.

Ezekwem said this during a meeting with some members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Thursday in Owerri.

He however warned of dire consequences if the state government failed to register the club and pay outstanding seven months salaries of players, staff and  coaches.

“This may stop the club from participating in the new football league season.

“It will be an embarrassment to the people of Imo if the only club owned by the state failed to feature in the country’s football league,’’ Ezekwem said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the League Management Company (LMC) has set Friday as deadline for clubs’ registration for the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Ezekwem said Heartland FC were yet to register their players as at Thursday.

NAN reports that the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Dan Ogu, had recently dissolved the club’s management board headed by Ezekwem.

However, Ezekwem said during the meeting with Imo SWAN members that the Commissioner lacked the power to dissolve the board.

While reacting to some allegations on misappropriation of funds by the board, Ezekwem said all the money released for the club under his watch were used judiciously.

He threatened to resign his position as board chairman if the state government sacked the club’s General Manager, Godson Onyemaobi.

“I know that am not the target in this crisis, but the GM. So, if he is sacked, I will resign because I know he is a performing GM,” he said.

Ezekwem said the state government officials should rather be focused on making sure that Heartland FC were registered and licensed.

“But it is unfortunate that they were busy looking for a way to sack the GM,’’ he said.

On the slashing of players’ salaries by the club management, Ezekwem said it was not a decision he unilaterally took. “It was in full agreement with all the players.

“When I was appointed as the board chairman, I reviewed the salary of both players and staff just to motivate everybody to perform.

“But when we saw that our N23 million subvention could not carry the club’s liabilities, we decided to cut the salaries of both players and management staff in agreement with everybody,’’ he said.

Ezekwem said the decision affected goalkeeper Ezenwa whose salary of N700,000 was slashed to N500,000.

He said the action was to enable them pay the salaries of other players and workers.

“The Management Board under my watch ran a deficit of N1.1 million every month, and on some occasions my personal money was used in running the club,’’ Ezekwem said.

Edited By: Josephine Obute and Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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28 participants registered so far for Olusoji/Oyo SWAN Table Tennis Competition, chapter chairman says 



Twenty-eight participants, who are sports journalists and media personalities in Oyo State, have registered to compete in a two-day table tennis tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Ibadan.

Niyi Alebiosu, Chairman of Oyo State Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), told newsmen on Sunday in Ibadan that the competition is aimed at improving the well-being of members.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the competition tagged “Olusoji/SWAN Table Tennis Competition” is being organised by the state chapter of SWAN.

Also, it is being sponsored by Tayo Olusoji, Chairman of the Oyo State Table Tennis Association.

Alebiosu further said the competition was organised to promote the game among journalists and make them fit to perform their professional duties.

“We’re organising this table tennis tournament to allow sports journalists showcase their talents in the ping-pong game.

“Aside this, the competition is going to enable us take our minds off our strenuous daily routine to recreate and relax,” he said.

The Oyo State SWAN chairman said mouth-watering prizes would be given to the champion, runner-up and third-placed competitors at the end of the tournament.

Alebiosu added that the competition would hold at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre at Iyaganku in Ibadan.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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SWAN begs Gov. Uzodinma to Save Heartland FC from extinction



Imo Chapter of the Sports Writers Association (SWAN) has appealed to Gov. Hope Uzodinma to urgently resolve the internal leadership crisis in Heartland FC of Owerri to save the club from extinction.

The association made the appeal on Saturday in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Everest Ezihe and Secretary, Tunde Liadi in Owerri.

SWAN  urged the Uzodinma-led government to ensure that salaries and allowances owed the players as a result of the crisis were immediately paid them.

According to the association, this will enable the players to commence preparation for the new season.

It noted that the continuous silence of the governor on the leadership crises in the club and the fact that the club had yet to start preparations for the new season may lead to serious setback.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the League Management Company (LMC) had set Sept. 18 as deadline for all clubs to comply with its licencing directive.

However, Heartland FC has yet to begin preparation for the new season due to internal leadership crises, which led to accumulation of unpaid salaries to both players and staff.

“Imo SWAN appeals to Gov. Hope Uzodinma to ensure the crises in the club is halted forthwith, while the government should immediately put machinery in motion which will ensure speedy payment of the emolument owed the players.

“Heartland FC is the pride of the Eastern Heartland, therefore, it will be regrettable if Uzodinma whose administrative mantra is anchored on shared prosperity will out of negligence allow this most  cherished game to be destroyed by selfish interests,” the association said.

(Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN
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