The organiser of the maiden U-17 Youth Earnestly Asking for Good Governance (YEAGO) Cup, has said that Lagos was yet to fulfill its potentials as a frontline state in the football business.
Mr Abdul-Akeem Animashahun, the Founder, Young Professional Initiative for Economic Growth and Development, said at a news conference in Lagos on Friday ahead of the commencement of the maiden U-17 YEAGO Cup tournament.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 16-team grassroots’ football competition has clubs drawn from across all the local governments in the state, to play an 8-a-side knockout tournament.
Animashahun said that the competition was scheduled for between Jan. 30 and Feb. 11, at Ojooniyan Recreational Centre, Ebute-Meta, Lagos.
According to him, Lagos, with its abundance of human resources should be a hub for exporting footballers to other states and across the world.
“The population in Lagos is enough to be a frontline state in football business; we have several of our youths roaming about the streets jobless, whereas we can engage them in sports, especially football that most of them love.
“Competitions like the YEAGO Cup is another avenue to pull the teeming youngsters off the streets, thereby curbing youth restiveness in the state and scouting for outstanding talents among them.
“Sports, especially football, can be used as a bait to draw the youths and channel their energies into positive things that can equally have impact on the economy.
“We, on our own end, saw a need for us to engage the youths as a Corporate Social Responsibility and we are passionate about it,” he said.
Animashahun noted that since Nigeria was widely respected for her pedigree in sports, especially football, it should be used as an advantage to promote the game.
“Nigeria has a reputation as a country blessed with vast human resources, so, as far as football is concerned, we need to seize this advantage to gather the youths to showcase their talents.
“For us, we are looking at a way of supporting the young footballers, to mentor them, to see that they also take their studies seriously.
“The registration for the tournament is free and we intend to make it fair to all and also ensure there are no age cheats.
“We are advising the youths to ensure that they get the best from their education, which will serve as a good complement to their footballing careers,” he said.
Animashahun added that all logistics for the competition such as medical, security and screening to determine the age of the footballers had already been taken care of.
NAN reports that winners of the tournament would go home with N250,000, second position N150, 000 and third place team will take home N100,000.
For the individual awards, Most Valuable Player, Highest Goal Scorer and Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, would pocket N20,000 each. (NAN)