By Emmanuel Mogbede
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday inaugurated a 26-member committee for its maiden Unity Cup Football Competition aimed discovering young talents.
The committee is headed by former Super Eagles Coach, Christian Chukwu, and the championship is targeted at non-league players in the six geo-political zones.
The APC National Youth Leader, Alhaji Dasuki Jalo, who inaugurated the committee at the party`s headquarters in Abuja, said that the competition would commence in July.
He said that the tournament was part of the party’s mandate to initiate and implement strategic programmes that would endear the party to Nigerian youths.
Jalo disclosed that the party was collaborating with Allsports `N` Games Consult (AGC) in organising the competition “for youth development and empowerment through sports’’.
He expressed optimism that the competition would bring out hidden football talents in youths, who could be showcased to the world for future benefit to individuals and the nation.
The youth leader said that two teams would emerge from each zone of the federation to play the semi-finals and finals, which would be in Abuja.
He explained that league players would not be part of the competition since it was a talent hunt.
He added that the kickoff date for the competition, the modus operandi, competition format and the price rewards, among others, would be resolved by the committee.
Jalo appealed to the party`s leaders, especially chairmen of state chapters and governors to support the initiative for the benefit of the party and its teaming youth supporters across the country.
In his response, Chukwu, the National Coordinator of the competition, commended APC`s leadership for the initiative and assured that the committee would produce abundant talents to feed the national teams.
He was represented by James Peters, a former Super Eagles assistant coach.
“Today’s event marks the high point of several months of hard work and consultations to ensure that the plan to stage the first edition of the APC National Unity Cup Football Championship is successful.
“Considering the local content advantages, which include abundance of talents, qualified technical hands at home and income generation potentials, the football development goal in the country is assured.
“It also has strong unity advocacy for the citizens,’’ Chukwu said.
He said that the APC was on a rescue mission to tap hidden talent with the competition.
He added that the competition was an intervention to restore youths’ confidence in government, national unity and assurances for decent livelihood and benefits from productivity.
“To deploy youth energy into active football skill development and competition is to secure their present and future career with sustainable means of livelihood and happiness,’’ Chukwu said.
He, however, stressed that it was an open age competition for male footballers only, adding that the preliminary stages would begin from the states to zones and to national level.
He added that the competition was a nationwide tournament that would attract prizes and career progression packages for exceptional talents that would be discovered.
The former Eagles player and tactician assured that All Sports ‘N’ Games Consult with vast experience in sports, had a national duty to work with the party to ensure the development and empowerment of youths through sports.