its role to the Delta State Government during the burial ceremony due to paucity of funds. A wreath and a portrait of former Nigerian football coach Stephen Keshi are seen during a farewell ceremony at the Ogbe Stadium, in Benin City, on July 28, 2016. Nigerian football legend Stephen Keshi, who died aged 54, was a Cup of Nations winner as a player and coach. Supporters and international football players gathered to bid farewell, at the Ogbe Stadium, in Benin, on the eve of his funeral in his hometown Illah. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI The Sports who spoke to newsmen after paying courtesy call on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Said; “when we had the challenge of the paucity of funds which even characterize our preparation for Olympics, we engage the Delta state government to say look we are incapacitated by funds but you can play the role of a big brother for us. “When we are able to get funds approved for us we could be investing on the children and the family because the man has gone and left a very great family. “Whatever the federal government approves would be elaborately invested on the children so that it can sustain them instead of going to organize a burial for people to come and eat and drink. That was the wisdom in which we engaged the state government.” Disclosing that he was in Asaba to solicit the support of the state government for the National Youth Games which comes up on September 22, Dalung said Governor Okowa responded positively to their advocacy “to support, encourage and sustain grassroots sports development through the instrumentality of the National Youth Games.” “We intend to re-focus our energy towards grassroots sports development when we will preview the committee report which we have received and start to implement which by content focused more on the policy of developing grassroots sports and sustaining it,” he said. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in his address, advocated long term planning and private sector funding as panacea to the dwindling fortunes of sports in the country. Okowa insisted that Nigeria failed to perform well in the last Rio Olympics because there was no consistency in the country’s preparation for the competition, observing that for a very long time the country has depended on the public purse which has contracted in recent times thereby impacting negatively on sports development in the country. He opined that the country needed to partner with the private sector in sports funding and development. “Just as we are finding ways to diversify our economy, it is time for us to begin to look beyond the public sector in trying to rejuvenate and create a better impact in sports development, the governor said, adding ” we must critically involve the private sector in funding sports development in Nigeria”.