A philanthropist and property expert, James Nwokike, has decried the high level of youth involvement in sports betting.
Nwokike, said this when a football club, Ayom and Okpala Old School FC inaugurated him as its patron in Awka on Tuesday.
Ayom and Okpala Old School FC is a community-based team for residents of Atom na Okpala village of Awka, the capital city of Anambra.
The patron encouraged youths to engage in the game of football or every other sport for the reward it offered athletes or excitement it gave to enthusiasts and not stake money on it.
He said betting had impoverished more youths than it had enriched them regretting that instead, it had driven many youths into crime and other vices.
According to him, not everybody will make it in life by betting.
Nwokike charged members of the football club to shun all forms of violence but rather use it to build a more friendly and secure environment in the area.
“Football is good, sports is good; they keep youths positively busy and bring fortune to those who play so we are really missing the suspension of games as a result of Coronavirus Disease.
“But I must advise our youths against betting; it is bad that most of them follow football these days because they try their luck with betting; some of them now steal from their parents to bet.
“There may be one or two persons that have been lucky with betting but many of our youths are now lazy, they don’t want to work because they are hoping to win free money, it is bad for their future.
“I learnt how to fix aluminium doors and windows, people were giving me small jobs, it was not easy until I changed my line of trade, so I advise them to have something that God can bless them with like handwork,” he said.
Nonyelum Onyeawka, Chairman of the club said Ayom na Okpala FC was formed to bring together both indigenous and migrant youths resident in Awka.
Onyeawka said they were worried about the spate of cult activities in Awka and were determined to fight the vice and other crimes in the town through positive engagements.
He said the club which sparingly plays these days due to the lockdown was conscious of the COVID-19 safety tips.
“We have our hand wash bucket and soap, sanitisers and different jerseys at training grounds and bibs, as a matter of fact, we are using this club to create more awareness among the people here,” he said.