Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State says his administration is considering constructing a new stadium following the promotion of the state-sponsored football team, Bayelsa United, to the elite Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
Governor Diri stated this at a dinner in honour of the management and players of Bayelsa United.
Last Saturday, the team emerged champions of the Group B2 Southern Conference of the 2021/22 Nigerian National League (NNL) after defeating Cynosure of Abakaliki, Ebonyi State 2-0 in their last game at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa.
The governor said although the Samson Siasia complex, which hosts both Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens, which also won the 2021/22 Nigerian Women Football League, will be re-modelled ahead of the new season, there was need for a stadium of international standard in the state.
He expressed the commitment of his administration in making Bayelsa a hub of sports in Nigeria.
Governor Diri informed that the state would soon organise a sports festival to complement its sports development policies and that government had received positive responses from corporate organisations.
The State Chief Executive also congratulated Bayelsa United for surmounting all the odds that prevented it from gaining promotion to the elite league in the past seven years.
The governor noted that the victory has opened a new chapter for the team and the sports-loving people of the state, which he said would now witness top class football in the premier league.
He charged the team to remain focused and to target winning the NPFL trophy as well while assuring it of the state government’s continuous support, including further training for the technical crew and beefing up of the squad.
In a remark, Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo commended Governor Diri for the team’s victory, saying it was another feather to his cap in sports development and that it was the beginning of more laurels for the state.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo noted that the governor’s passion for sports had resulted in the state recording numerous achievements in just two and a half years in office.
Earlier, Chairman of Bayelsa United, Mr. Ebiki Timitimi, while appreciating the governor for the financial support to the team, noted that frequent pep talk through phone calls boosted the morale of the players.
Mr. Timitimi equally expressed gratitude to the deputy governor, who supervises sports, for being a pillar of support to the team wherever they travel for matches.
In attendance at the dinner were House of Reps members Dr. Fred Agbedi and Fred Obua, members of the state assembly, Timi Agala-Omubo and Mrs. Ebiowou Koku-Obiyai, President of Azikel Group, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, member of CAF Medical Committee and chairman of the state’s Civil Service Commission, Dr. Peter Singabele as well as chairman of the state football association, Mr. Porbeni Ogoun and top government functionaries.