Cross River closes U. J. Esuene Stadium

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The Cross River Government has closed the 10,000-capacity U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar to upgrade facilities for the 19th National Sports Festival.

The state will stage the sports fiesta, tagged “Paradise Games’’ in the stadium from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7 this year.

Patrick Ugbe, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, told newsmen in Calabar that the government was constructing an Indoor Sports Hall within the stadium complex.

Ugbe, however, did not disclose how much the government planned to spend on the renovation but a reliable source hinted that the project was being handled under the “Special Projects Portfolio’’ in the governor’s office.

The stadium became prominent in the sports circles when in 2013 it hosted virtually all of Nigeria’s qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

It also served as home for the victorious Golden Eagles that won the 2013 FIFA World Cup in the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 8.

The victory made Nigeria to become the first team ever to win the U-17 World Cup four times, having won the competition in 1985, 1993, and 2007.

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