Chief Jacob Nkpa, the traditional ruler of Ewika Community in Alode Clan of Eleme has bagged a Merit Award from the Rivers State Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) for ensuring that sports and young talents are groomed at the grassroots.
The Merit Award which was presented to him at Landmark Hotels, Port Harcourt alongside other football executives was to appreciate him and also to urge him to put in more effort in breeding youths who have interest in football at the grassroots.
Speaking in an interview, Chief Nkpa who expressed happiness over the award, said the award came as a surprise to him as he never thought his little effort and passion in football would be appreciated.
According to him: “I never knew my works are been recording for me. I thought I was wasting time. The invitation was given to us based on our activities in grassroots development in sports and as an Eleme man, I was honoured alongside the Executive Governor of Rivers State”.
Nkpa stated that football is a game that unites people adding that when people indulge in it, it helps curb youth restiveness as well as bringing two enemies to watch together.
He however appealed to parents to allow their children take part and participate in football if they have chosen that as their career, stressing that people make good amount of money in football now.
“The richest people in the world are football players because they are paid so much money and that is why am pleading with parents to allow their children participate in football which they see as their career and talents.
“A child can go to school and also participate in sports. That does not stop the child from studying or going to school. The problem we encounter in football is that people particularly parents who are supposed to encourage the youths to partake in football feel that the game is for illiterates and that has become a major problem to the growth of clubs.
Nkpa further decried the poor state of football in Eleme. He said Eleme do not have a football club that is officially registered, hence what they are doing now is to form a club where little ones will be engaged in which will also enhance their talents. He said other local governments have their football clubs which are well known with sponsors, but Eleme is yet to have one.
He therefore sought for the support and sponsorship of a football club to ensure that there is a permanent and registered football club in Eleme
“We don’t have a football club in Eleme, the only club we had as at then was Eleme United Football Club and which was officially registered in the state and national level and we played so well with Eyimba Football Club and others.
“I will tell you that currently, we don’t have any football club. What we are doing is to form a club which focus is to engage youths so that they won’t indulge in criminal activities. And that is why we are seeking for sponsors from the people of Eleme so that the club will stay just like the Ogoni United has come to stay”.
Chief Nkpa also commended the Rivers State Sports Writers Association for the award given to him, and assured that he would put in more effort in what he is doing.