Akwa Ibom State government has made a donation of N89 million and 35 houses to players and officials of Akwa United FC of Uyo for winning this year’s Federation Cup.
The state owned Glo Premier League outfit lifted the cup for the first time in the 28 years history of the state after they defeated Lobi Stars of Makurdi 2-1 last month at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Governor Udom Emmanuel who made the pledge at a dinner held in honour of the team in Uyo said he was moved to make the donation because the team demonstrated the “daakada” spirit that has remained the philosophy of his administration.
Each of the 35 players of the team smiled home with N2million and a house while each of the eight officials of the team also got N2million with chief coach Zakari Baraje getting N3million.
Governor Emmanuel who pledged to support the team’s participation in next year’s national and continental engagements also instructed the management of the team to submit a comprehensive proposal for their participation in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The state commissioner for sports, Mr Monday Ukoh had earlier commended the Governor for his support and motivation to the team before the finals, adding that his presence and that of some members of the state executive council at the finals was a morale booster to the players.
Ukoh who said that the resilience and doggedness of the players also made it possible for the team to escape relegation on the last day of the Glo Premier League promised that with the necessary support the team would not only excel in their continental engagement but so better in the league next season.
Sports enthusiasts who attended the dinner commended the state governor for his fresh interest in the team and expressed the belief that this could signal the beginning of an improved funding of the team by the state government.
Nigerian Pilot Sports reports that funding has been the bane of the team in recent times even as Baraje has threatened to leave the team if the funding structure is not reviewed and improved upon for him to improve the playing personnel.
With players going without salary for months and several protests not doing much to bring the attention of the state government to their plight, the team struggled throughout the season to maintain their top flight status.


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