A new football tournament is set to take centre stage in Bayelsa State, South-South, Nigeria.
Christened ?The Governor Henry Seriake Dickson Cup 2015?, the competition is expected to feature over One hundred teams, representing the 105 electoral wards as well as State and Federal owned higher institutions of learning in the State.
Announcing the formal launch of the competition, the Director-General of the Governor?s Cup 2015 project and Special Adviser to the Governor on Trade and Investment, Mr. Cyril Akika, explained that, the event is aimed at integrating and empowering youths as well as fostering peace and unity across the State.
Lamenting the dearth of Bayelsa-born footballers at national and international levels, despite the State being blessed with abundant talents, he stated that, the competition, which is the first of its kind is also intended to discover talents at the grassroot level that can be groomed to represent both the State and Country in the future.
According to the Director-General, apart from the One Hundred and Five wards, it will feature teams from the State owned Niger Delta university, Amassoma, Federal Univeristy, Otuoke, Bayelsa State College of Art and Science, Elebele, College of Education, Sagbama, Federal Polythecnic Ekowe, College of Health Technology, Otuogidi, Ogbia and the Creek Haven All Stars, Yenagoa.
Mr. Akika disclosed that, the draws and formal unveiling of the tournament?s mascot have been scheduled to hold on the 28th of this month, with the kick off slated for the 4th of June, 2015, at the new Nembe City stadium.
The competition will also feature matches in ten other venues across the State, with the final match to hold at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, Yenagoa, on the 2nd of August 2015.
A total of N50m will be won in prizes, with the winners to go home with a cash prize of five million naira and an 18-seater bus, while the first runner up will go home with three million naira and two million naira for the second runner-up, alongside other consolation prizes for the Most Valuable Player, Highest goals scorer and the Best goal-keeper of the tournament.
The statement also adds that, at the end of the competiton, twenty-two players would be selected from the participating teams, and would be sent to the Sia-One Football Academy, Abuja, from where they will undertake a playing tour of a selected foreign country, among other benefits, such as educational scholarships.
Mr. Akika, who is also the Special adviser to the Governor on Trade and investment, stressed that the project would be driven by the private sector in collaboration with the State Government, as he called on interested individuals, corporate bodies, captains of Industry to partner with them, as the competition will equally serve as a means of curbing youth restiveness.
The Director-General further explained that, the kick off of the tournament will be preceeded by a series of activities, including a press conference scheduled to hold on Thursday, 14th May, 2015, mascot designing and unveiling competition, presentation of trophy as well as a fund-raising dinner and the draws on the 28th of May and the presentation of kits to participating teams.
While urging the youths to grab this life-changing opportunity and ensure that, they participate, the Director-General, also called on them to be responsible and eschew any form of violence that could cause unrest in their various communities, but should always, explore the numerous avenues provided by the Dickson administration, to better their lives.
Source: Ono K. Akpe