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Age-grade Competitions: Cross River Wants Sponsors to redefine Sponsorship Deal

Orok Duke

Orok Duke

By Dianabasi Effiong

The Cross River Sports Commission has threatened to withdraw the state contingent from Nestle Milo and Coca-Cola sponsored age-grade competitions if participants’ concerns over sponsorship shortcoming are
not addressed.
The Chairman of the commission, Orok Duke gave the hint in an interview with sports writers on Tuesday in Calabar at a reception for the state’s U-15 male team.
According to him the participants are worried that the sponsors failed to redefine benefits regime to address what should accrue to participating youths in line with current economic realities.
He also alleged that organisers of the competition provided barely sustainable financial assistance for the state team that featured in the just-concluded COPA Coca-Cola Zonal Tournament for secondary schools.
COPA Coca-Cola is the world’s largest brand supported grassroots football initiatives connecting and engaging teenagers with the prospect of attaining their football dreams.
It also encourages participants to bond, form new friendships and acquire significant social skills and football experience through team work.
Similarly, the Nestle Milo basketball championship is organised to discover talents and raise the standard of the dunking game at the grassroots level in Nigeria
The basketball tourney is also organised to encourage students to develop qualities that set the foundations for children to imbibe the spirit of hardship and courage to overcome fear.
Duke said the state government was saddened that the sponsors of this year’s tournament only provided N100, 000 for Government Secondary School, Ikom.
The school represented Cross River in the Zonal championship in Port Harcourt.
He said that the state government had to raise more than N1million for camping of team Cross River in Calabar for the championship.
He said that the commission accommodated the boys in hotels in Calabar and Port Harcourt, facilitated their trip to Port Harcourt and did the same upon their arrival back home.
“Nestle Milo did the same recently when they organised their Basketball tourney for schools in the state. We ran into deficit to meet the children’s demand.
“If by next year these sponsors fail to spell out the sponsorship deal, Cross River not Duke said the commission might be compelled to withdraw from such competitions.
“We intend to take up the issue with the Schools Sports Federation of Nigeria on why it should support a deal that encourages sponsorship arrangement that fails to tidy up loose ends.
“Cross River State will always by the rule governing age-grade competitions in spite of challenges posed by age cheats in the championship in recent,” he said.
Duke also commended the state contingent to the zonal championship for being good ambassadors even though they failed to qualify for the finals.
He also assured that the team would be part of the state’s U-15 football squad.