Boma Iyaye challenges Rivers United to win for Eunisell

Boma Iyaye challenges Rivers United to win for Eunisell

Outgoing Commissioner for Sports in Rivers State Boma Iyaye has challenged players and staff of the state owned Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Rivers United to repay the backing of their shirt sponsors Eunisell by ‘winning’.

Iyaye gave the challenge while speaking at the Port Harcourt leg of the ‘Eunisell Rivers United Day‘ held at the Le Meridien Hotel, Port Harcourt on Friday night. The programme was organised by Eunisell, a chemical and fluids Energy company to celebrate their partnership with the club.

Rivers United are the only club in the NPFL to have a shirt sponsor and their deal with Eunisell, in its fourth year (without adding the Sharks deal) has been regarded as the longest ever shirt sponsorship in the NPFL. Iyaye posits that the club must win to keep the deal going.

“I must be very frank and very harsh with you now, you must pay back Eunisell,” began Iyaye who has been the Sports Commisioner since Rivers governor Nyesom Wike came on board in 2015.

“You must pay them back by continuously winning games. Your sponsors Eunisell, as a private company have done well but the state government has also put in so much resources to back you as a team.

“The only way you can pay back that lot of resources that the state government and Eunisell have put in is to win all the time. If you don’t win, you’re not doing yourself any good. If you’re not at the top, you’re not doing yourself any good,” said Iyaye.

The highest position Rivers United have attained since their Eunisell sponsorship started was a second place finish behind Rangers in the 2016 season which saw them play in CAF competitions a year later.

“How many football teams in the country have such sponsorship?” Iyaye queried.

“Even the very big teams in the country don’t have this sponsorship you have. Teams like Kano Pillars, Rangers even Enyimba who have won two continental championships don’t have this kind of sponsorship. So, when you have the opportunity, you utilise it. You don’t treat it with kid gloves.

“You must cherish this opportunity you have in your hands and the only way to cherish it is to win. So, I’m urging you today that the only way you can pay back your sponsors is to win,” added Iyaye.

In his response, Rivers United captain Festus Austin expressed regrets that the team could not win a silverware during Mr Iyaye’s tenure as Sports Commissioner but promised that they will put all hands on deck to make that a reality soon.

Austin has been at the club for a decade now also added that the players have resolved to beat Rangers International in Enugu on Monday in their penultimate league game of the season, stating that “if Wikki Tourists can come to Port Harcourt to win, then we can do it in Enugu.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Group Managing Director of Eunisell, Chika Ikenga who was represented by Chief Finance Officer of the company (CFO) Charles Etuk stated that their partnership with the club is for the long haul and not necessarily result oriented.

“It is with pleasure and immense pride that Eunisell celebrates our continuous sponsorship of Rivers United FC – the longest standing sponsorship in the NPFL.

“There is no doubt in our minds that the club will soon be NPFL champions should the exciting brand of football being played, continue. We are delighted with the wave of young talent that is injecting the energy required, to move Rivers United to the next level,” said Ikenga.

Also present at the event were Chief Marketing Officer of Eunisell, Simon Willars, the top hierarchy of Rivers United including General Manager Okey Kpalukwu, General coordinator Bash Badawiy and team’s head coach Stanley Eguma. Six players of the team were also in attendance, they are: captain Festus Austin, goalkeeper Abiodun Akande and defenders Ebenezer Kunle Odunlami, Samson Gbadebo, Kingsley Patrick and Chigozie Ihunda.

Select members of the press, including ACLSports Chief Football Writer, Fisayo Dairo were also at the occasion.

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