AIPS President to witness foundation laying of Rivers Football Academy


President of the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS), Gianni Merlo, will arrive in Nigeria on Sunday, May 27 on a three-day visit.

Merlo will arrive through Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and is expected to attend series of events being organised by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and the Rivers State Government.

The leader of the world’s sports journalists association will be received by the President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Honour Sirawoo, at the Port Harcourt International Airport in company of the AIPS-Africa President, Mitchell Obi, some top government functionaries and SWAN officials.

The visit of the 61-year-old Merlo will be the first by an AIPS President to Nigeria since the world body was founded in 1924.

While in Port Harcourt, Merlo will pay a courtesy call on Africa’s Power Of Sports award recipient, Governor Nyesom Wike, and later join the Governor and other guests for the foundation-laying ceremony of the Rivers State Government/Real Madrid Football Academy on Monday, May 28.

He will later address a world press conference on the AIPS Media Sports Award and speak on plans to strengthen sports journalism practice in Nigeria by 2 p.m. same day,

Later that day, Merlo will join Governor Wike, as well as top officials of SWAN, CAF and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to watch the Super Eagles’ friendly match against DR Congo at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

Speaking on the visit, SWAN President Honour Sirawoo, said “SWAN is honoured to host the AIPS President and his entourage”.

He also called on sports journalists in Nigeria to accord the AIPS President a very warm reception.

“Already, we have put together a lot of plans to ensure a smooth occasion.

“For instance, we have concluded plans to convey journalists attending the briefing to the stadium for the Super Eagles’ friendly.

“This is part of plans to ensure the visit and its coverage, as well as the match’s coverage, are made convenient for our members,” he said.

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