Gov. Ikpeazu’s Cup tournament, initiative for talent hunt in Abia — Committee

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Umuahia, Jan. 8, 2021 The Organising committee for the Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s Cup tournament has said that its mandate was to discover and expose Under-21 budding soccer talents to clubs within and outside Abia.

The Chairman of the seven-member committee, Paul Mba, said this on Friday, while briefing sports journalists at the Umuahia Township Stadium on the fixtures for the six-week-long competition.

Mba, who was a one-time Commissioner of Sports, said the committee had drawn the fixtures for the 17 local government areas in the state that would vie for honours in the tournament.

“The objective of the tournament is to identify budding football talents at age 21 and below, who are roaming the streets and those that are engaged. The governor’s target is that if you are a good player at that age, some scouts will come and pick you.

“We played four matches in December, just after our inauguration and adjourned for the Yuletide, and the competition will resume on Monday,” Mba said.

He said that the committee had written the new local government council Chairmen about the tournament, urging them to take it seriously, adding that it would help youth in their carreer development and expose them to scouts from notable clubs in Abia such as Enyimba International FC of Aba, Abia Warriors FC and Abia Comets, amongst others.

The Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development, George Ikwuagwu, who is also a member of the committee, described the Governor’s Cup as a major initiative of Ikpeazu’s administration aimed at grassroots sports development.

Ikwuagwu noted that sports development in the state had received a boost since the inception of the administration, with the introduction of series of youth sports competitions such as the U-21 inter-Local governments Female football competition and the 2019 School Sports Festival for public and private secondary and primary schools with over 750 schools participating.

He appealed to well-meaning Abia indigenes, sports lovers, philanthropists and other stakeholders, to support government’s efforts in the development of sports in the state.

Ikwuagwu further spoke on government’s efforts to upgrade sports infrastructure in the state, saying that the ministry had purchased 50 table tennis boards for distribution to schools as ”part of government’s efforts to develop sports at the grassroots level.”

He added that the governor had also approved plans for the revival of Abia Valliants, in order to resuscitate the game of basketball in the state, while a new set of handball equipment had been acquired by the government, a new management constituted to run the team.

Naija247news reports that the committee comprised renowned sports administrators and commentators in the state, including a former Director of Sports in the state, Ejikeme Ikwunze, popularly called “Mr Football”.

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