Society for Promotion of Sports has decorated the founder of the Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club (now Heartland F.C.), Engineer Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu as the Grand Patron of the National Abuja Football Tournament.
The coordinator of the tournament, Vincent Michael Oche, said Mr Iwuanyanwu was selected out of the many nominees as the Grand Patron of the tournament based on track records and contributed to the development of sports in Nigeria.
Speaking at the brief investiture ceremony held in Abuja on Tuesday, deputy director of competition of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ayo Abdulrahman said it necessary to celebrate the famous businessman and politician for his contribution to the development of football in the country.
He said the history of Nigeria’s football cannot be told without a mention Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
‘The history of football in Nigeria cannot be discussed today without a mention of the person of Chief Emmanuel Iwunyanwu who took full responsibility of an important football club in Nigeria that made many of us know and familiar with Owerri. I’m a pioneer of staff of the Nigeria Premier League and even after Chief Iwuanyanwu left the baton of the management of the club to Imo State government, we were still making a mistake, instead of writing the new name of the club, Heartland, we were writing Iwuanyanwu Nationals of Owerri.
“So, Chief Iwuanyanwu doesn’t need much introduction other than to say accolades and thanking him for what has done for the youth of this country.
“On behalf of the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), board members, general secretary and entire staff, we are here to associate with the National Abuja Football Tournament to say we are with you, Sir,” Abdulrahman stated.
The former chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), FCT chapter, Kayode Adeniyi, said the choice of the Elder Statesman Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu was the best thing that has happened to the National Abuja Football Tournament.
He said his choice was to appreciate him for his contribution to the Nigeria football league and Nigerian footballers.
Responding, the former politician commended the group for honouring him. “I’m very excited and overwhelmed by this honour. I’m a man who is approaching 80 years of age and after many years of service to Nigeria has been honoured by the youth, I feel very excited.
“In most cases people are honoured after they are dead, people start saying good things about them but the youth in the game which I love so much have come to honour me in my lifetime by conferring on me the grand patron of Abuja Football tournament. I’m going to display this award in a very prominent part of my house and is going to be for the remaining part of my life and a constant reminder that while I passed through this world I render services and the appreciated it to the extent that why I’m in not a position to do anything for them again, they still remember me. I feel emotional about it, grateful and I give thanks to God.