Countdown to Obiano’s 7th Anniversary: Focus on the Awka City Stadium

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By James Eze
It has always been something of an irony that for all her array of sporting talents, Anambra State does not have a standard sporting facility. From Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Nigeria’s first Commonwealth Gold Medalist to Innocent Egbunike the Olympic Bronze Medalist, Mary Onyali, two times Olympic Bronze Medalist, Francis Obikwelu, Olympic Silver Medalist and Uchenna Emedolu, Olympic Silver Medalist, Anambra has contributed quality athletes that brought honour to Nigeria.
And in football, Anambra’s Emmanuel Okala is Nigeria’s first winner of the African Footballer of the Year award. The state also parades legendary footballers like, Silvanus Okpala, Kenneth Boardman, Aloysius Atuegbu, Keneth Ilodigwe, Arthur Egbuna, Chimezie Nwanaga, Louis Igwillo, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Amaechi Otti, Okwuchukwu Obiora, Charles Okonkwo, Ikechukwu Ofoje, Obinna Nsofor, Mikel Obi, Victor Anichebe as well as the ace Commentator, Ernest Okonkwo.
It is therefore something of a surprise that the state has no stadium of its own. What Anambra has are two privately owned stadiums; Rojenny Sports Stadium and Gabros International Stadium now rechristened Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium. However the two facilities are not located in the state capital, Awka. They are located in Oba and Nnewi respectively. As a fast developing capital city, Awka needs modern facilities for leisure, sports, recreation, conferences, lifestyle and business. Well, Governor Obiano has now built a stadium in Awka.
Located in the heart of the city, a little over six months ago, this glittering stadium in the photographs below was a piece of abandoned land where daring Fulani herders grazed their cattle. But work has reached advanced stages on the stadium which was designed as a compact sporting facility with a covered stand, swanky dressing rooms, an electronic scoreboard, Fifa-standard pitch and Olympic-standard tartan tracks for sprinters. The facility was designed to accommodate future expansion possibilities and still retain a large parking space.
And so, finally, residents of Awka will have access to modern sporting and recreational facilities that will boost their hopes for an improved lifestyle and reduce the pressure on Alex Ekwueme Square which was not conceived as a facility for sports but has been converted to one by expediency.
Once again, Governor Willie Obiano has left an indelible footprint in an area where it matters a lot…Sports.
Chief Tony Oli, the Chairman of Anambra State Sports Development Commission and his team are working night and day to deliver the Awka City Stadium, for the use of sports lovers soonest.
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