The Eleme Football Council which comprises footballers in the 10 wards of Eleme Local Government Area has paid a familiarization visit on the king of Eleme kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Philip Osaro Obele to discuss issues bedeviling the Eleme Football Club.
The visit which took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty, King Philip Obele was aimed at discussing the challenges faced by the group and seeking the king’s intercession to speak to companies resident in the area to give their full support so that football clubs in Eleme will be sustained.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of Eleme Football Council, Chief Jacob Nkpa said the essence of the visit was to familiarize with the king as custom and tradition demands and to ensure that the Eleme Football Association is given the needed support to grow and develop to national and world standard like their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Nkpa however appealed to the King and his council of chiefs, and the people of Eleme to concentrate on developing their indigenous football because, according to him, if football is well developed with the participation of the youths, it will help curb crisis and crimes in the areas.
He however outlined four areas of needs which they appealed to the king of Eleme to look into.
According to him, “The Eleme people have what was called the Eleme United Club which is no longer functioning due to lack of sponsors; we need sponsors to bring it back.
“Eleme has several companies resident in the area and we will need the king to speak to one of the companies to be responsible in sponsoring of the Eleme Football Council.
“The Eleme people should also provide bus for the football council. Eleme Peace and Unity Tournament should be established and fully put into force so that the people of Eleme will participate and by that it will douse the insecurity crisis in the land”, he suggested.
He also urged the king of Eleme to ensure that the king’s cup is sustained, but not restricted to celebrating the king’s death.
Responding, king Obele expressed delight over the visit of Eleme Football Council to his palace and assured them of his support.
He noted that football symbolizes peace and love, stressing that it is only football that brings people from all walks of life to watch their favorite team playing, pointing out that sometimes football enthusiasts and fans haven’t met those players they so admire and support.
He revealed that most players at the grassroots in Eleme are rather more skillful and talented than the prominent players of national acclaim, assuring of his support to teams in Eleme to ensure that local players grow and become well known globally.
On his part, a member of the Eleme Council of Chiefs and Paramount Ruler of Eteo Clan, His Royal Highness, Chief Tekara Emmanuel Akobe expressed happiness over the visit of the team to the palace.
He said people make money and fame from playing football; hence the Eleme Football Club should not be exception. He lamented the high rate of unemployed youths and sufferings in Eleme even in the midst of several companies operating in the area.
Akobe urged the youths to fully participate in football as according to him that will enhance peace and provide food at the right time.
Similarly, His Royal Highness, Frederick Gomba Nwidaa of Akpajo Clan urged the Eleme Football Council not to relent in grooming youngsters in Eleme to participate in football as it is a game that unites people and brings people to stardom.
While lamenting the inability of the companies operating in the area to provide jobs for the youths of Eleme, he said the youths should focus more on their talents in football and sports.
On his part, Paramount Ruler of Ekporo, Chief Samuel Obe revealed that it was football that united people together during the crisis that broke out in Ekporo at his youthful age. He said there is no game that brings peace like football, urging them to follow it passionately as it will pave way for stardom.
In an interview with Inside Eleme, chairman of the Eleme Football Council expressed confidence that the king would provide solution to the challenges brought before his palace.
He maintained should the king meet the needs of the Eleme Football Council, it will help curb youth restiveness.