By Aderonke Ojediran
1xBET Sports Betting Company has entered into a partnership with Match International Company to develop football at the grassroots in Lagos State.
Its Chairman, Oluwafemi Babalola, who made this known at a news conference in Lagos, said that 40 football teams had been invited to compete for a trophy.
Babalola explained that the 40 teams, drawn from the 37 Local Government Areas of the state would be divided into five conferences.
He disclosed that Daniel Amokachi and Austin Eguavoen, former Super Eagles players had been appointed ambassadors to motivate the young talents that will be discovered at the tournament.
” These young players will be given a platform to showcase their talents and have the opportunity to be under the tutelage of outstanding ex-internationals.
” We are glad to be throwing our weight behind this laudable project, I’d like to thank Akanni for this brilliant initiative,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tournament, which will last for six weeks, is scheduled to kick-off on Oct. 3 across the Local Government Areas.
Earlier, Wahidi Akanni, the Chairman of Match International, said grassroots development remained the only sustainable way to discover and groom future champions.
” We started this partnership four months ago, and we’re glad to be here today. We believe in the talents, hidden gems in our country. But how do we nurture them if we don’t discover them?
” The only way we can identify these talents is by organising tournaments like this with ex-internationals as our ambassadors to train and motivate these talents.
” That’s why you see the chairman of Nigeria National League (NNL) here, we want a synergy whereby these players move to the next level from grassroot to the senior team,” he said.
Also, one of 1xBET’s ambassador, Eguavoen Austin, urged participants to make the best of the opportunity.
” We didn’t have these many opportunities during our time; this platform is a great platform to start growing from.
” 1xBET and Wahidi Akanni have sown a seed that will manifest in the near future. No doubt, there are talents in this country, but we need to put in structures to groom the talents discovered.
” Football remains a unifying tool in Nigeria; we should utilise it to save our country,” he said.
NAN reports that the winning team will go home with N1 million, while the first runners up gets N500,000 and second runners up N300, 000.
Amokachi fondly called ‘the bull’ said developing football at the grassroot remained the only sustainable way to guarantee continuous development of the game.
” It is an honour to be a part of this, watching football in its rawest form will be truly entertaining, and being able to discover new talents will be something to look forward to.
” Football unites us. Growing up as a child football was an escape root for us. I applaud Wahidi and 1xBET,” he said.
NAN reports that 40 ex-internationals in various Local Government Areas will train and mentor the five conference teams.
Fanny Amun, former Super Eagles, said he would like to see winners of 1xBET tournament in Super Eagles.
” The icing on the cake will be to see stars that will emerge from this tournament in the future Super Eagles where they can make reference to the fact that they were discovered here.
” I appreciate the fact that 1xBET has taken its Corporate Social Responsibility seriously and they will be remembered for it,” he said.
George Aluo, Chairman of NNL, who applauded the company, appealed to the betting company to partner with the NNL as sponsors.
” This is commendable, supporting the grassroots because the young shall grow tomorrow. How we preserve tomorrow is by working in partnership with the NNL and the Nigeria Premier Football League.
” Our domestic football development is crucial and with the calibre of people at the helms of affairs the future of Nigerian football is, indeed, very bright,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Salif Atojoko