Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says the state government will continue to initiate policies and programmes that will enhance youth and sports development.
Ikpeazu said this on Friday at the grandfinale of the male football competition among the 17 local government areas of the state, tagged the “Governor’s Cup for U-21”, which took place at the Umuahia Township Stadium.
He described the competition as part of his administration’s platforms for budding footballers to showcase their talents for possible sign-on by clubs within and outside Abia.
He said: “I believe there are scouts from Europe, Africa and Nigeria. So we are preparing the raw materials for soccer for tomorrow.
“Everybody believes that private sector partnership is better and more sustainable.
“The way to go in sports development everywhere is partnering with private sector to be able to get the kind of mileage you desire at all times.”
Ikpeazu expressed satisfaction with the quality and standard of play by the teams that competed for the trophy.
He said that the tournament would be made an annual event to help budding soccer talents to develop their skills.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Paul Mba, said that the competition recorded huge success and that the committee identified talents during the six-week exercise.
Mbah hoped that “something positive” would come out of the tournament, especially for players that showed great prospects.
He thanked the governor for the “overwhelming financial support” to the committee, saying that he was happy that the committee did not betray the governor’s confidence in it.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Umuahia South defeated Aba South by 5-4 on penalties to clinch the trophy.
The event was attended by Deputy Gov. Ude Oko-Chukwu, top government functionaries and a former Director of Sports and renowned football analyst, Ejikeme Ikwunze, popularly called Mr Football. (NAN)