Sports enthusiasts from within and outside Akwa Ibom State have gathered in Eket for the official commissioning of the city’s new 18,000-seat stadium today.
Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, who has already arrived in the state for the event, will witness the exercise as special guest of honour.
A novelty match between Akwa United and Katsina United will highlight the opening of the stadium, which is the second international standard arena in the state. The first is the 30,000 capacity Nest of Champions Stadium, which has become one of the official homes of the Super Eagles.
During a facility tour of the arena, Special Assistant on Research and Documentation to the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Nduese Essien, said the stadium in Eket would enhance the state’s talent discovery efforts and the economic development of the state
He said the choice of Governor Masari as special guest of honour was predicated on the common history of Akwa Ibom and Katsina states, which were created same day, September 23, 1987, by the Babangida administration.
He said: “The governor had promised to ensure that the youth do not only see sports as leisure, but also as a serious business to earn a decent living. This stadium will expose our youths early to befitting sporting facilities and activities that will enhance their talents in readiness for bigger competitions
“The new stadium will also reinvigorate sporting competition among schools in the senatorial district with the youth competing on high standard tartan tracks with suitable sporting kits. The days of youth running on sandy fields and on bare feet are gone.”
He hinted that the new stadium would grossly reduce the pressure on the Nest of Champions Stadium in Uyo, with the possibility of Dakkada Football Club, one of the state’s sponsored clubs, playing their home matches at Eket Stadium, as well as other football clubs in the state.