The National Sports link founded on August 22, 1992, was the first sports national newspaper in Nigeria. The newspaper was not limited to soccer (football) as it incorporated other sports like Volleyball, basket ball, handball, cricket and other sports. Simply put, it blazed the Newspaper printing in Nigeria.
This Pioneer Sports Newspaper, ‘Sportslink’ had in its team, the best Sports analysts and writers. With its intellectual resources, the paper blew instantly, hitting across Nigeria and beyond.
The formidable team that brought success to the paper, include; Emeka Inyama, Fan Ndubuoke, Onyebuchi abia, Bright Oyalad, Joe Apu, Maclaw Ndubuisi Agim, Chief Chukwukadibia (Chukas) and others.
He was the National Editor-in-Chief of the paper, who worked hard to put the best Sports stories on the table of every Sports loving Nigerian.
Fan Ndubuoke was the Managing Editor 1. He later became the president of SWAN, displaying his prowess in journalism profession.
Onyebuchi abia was the managing editor 2. He did great too.
Bright Oyalade was the Editor who coorporated with other Editors to gather Sports news both in Nigeria and the world in general.
Joe Apu was a member of the Editorial board. Apu is actively involved in covering basket ball in Nigeria.
Maclaw Ndubuisi Agim was the Administrative and Personnel Controller, who later became the controller of special projects in the group.
As a young man at Holy Ghost college Owerri, he showed his passion for journalism. He was the Editor of the Paraclate, the official magazine of the school. Also, he was the Editor of the Sociological Association Magazine of UNILAG.
Chief Chukwukadibia (Chukas) Opara, a seasoned administrator, was the brain behind the establishment of the National Sports link.
Opara sold the idea to Late Chief Ejikeme E. Nzeh who nurtured and financed the project.
We also remember Late Dandy Nzelogu, the Head of Advert Department and a first class brain from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He performed wonderfully well in his department by sourcing adverts which kept the Newspaper alive for years.
All other backroom staff, secretaries ,drivers, security men and guest writers are not forgotten as a new rebirth is sought for the National Sportslink. Once again congratulations for being there in the beginning.
We now look at the Chairman of the board of directors, Late Chief Ejikeme Eugene Nzeh (Biozobi 1) of Naze in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State.
He was not known to have played active football but he had passion and love for the round leather game. His close association with Late Tony Ejimofor a Sports guru might also have influenced his love for the game.
Late Chief Nzeh was a renowned philanthropist who supported his community, Naze Autonomous Community in their various developmental projects. His Philanthropic gesture was not limited to his Community. He extended it accross Owerri Senatorial zone and beyond.
Little wonder why his untimely death was recorded as one of the saddest thing in the senatorial zone. In recognition of his contributions to Sports development in the State, Imo State Government allowed his body to be laid in State at the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri.
Late Chief Nzeh is still remembered today with a nostalgic feelings. and we pray that the Almighty God will grant his soul eternal rest.
He was a member of all stars club of Owerri. All stars was not really a football club. It was a team formed with the sole aim of developing the Spartans football club of Owerri.
When gathered, they share ideas and strategies for their individual developments.
Amongst them are; the ubiquitous Chim Chim pepper, Tony Ejimafor of Statesman Newspapers, Emiliano Momokobo of Cameroonian ties, Evans Ikwuegbo aka Mpoto Ede amongst other old Spartans.
Chukas having put a beautiful team together, the stage was set for the launching of the National Sportslink on the 22nd Day of August 1992, at the National Arts Theatre, Igomu, Lagos.
Guess what, the Chief launcher was the pillar of Sports himself, late Chief M. K. O. Abiola, while the Master of Ceremony was Engr. Chief Segun Odegbam.
Recall that Odegbam had in 1980 taught the Algerians how to play football in the Nations Cup Final. He was a vice captain who later Captained the National Team.
The National Sportslink having been launched had a voice in determining important Sports activities in the country. It covered widely Under 17 World Cup and Nigeria ‘99.
Similarly, during the Administration of Tonko Zabairu in Imo State, he invited the controller of special projects, Sportslink, into the media committee, Imo 99.
As we mark the anniversary of the National Sports link and a rebirth, I’ll say to the new management that it is not going to be easy to be noticed. Though I know you’re not coming back just to be noticed but to regain your position as the best reporting newspaper in Nigeria.
It won’t be easy, it requires a good team like the first team the paper had. This requires a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of the staff and management.