by Shola Akingboye:
Nigerian Football Federation, (NFF), First Vice President and Chairman of the NFF Youth Football Committee, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has expressed his delight on the successful outing of talents at the recent NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship in Lagos. Akinwunmi, who is also the Chairman of the NFF Football Committee, was much delighted that, there were so many talents on display on both sides of the finalists of the 2017 tournament:
He speaks: “I am very happy at what I am seeing here. We can safely say the future is here. I had no doubt when we started this programme that we were on to a great thing.” “Indeed, in the next two years or thereabout, we would have no reason to go outside this competition to pick our U17 National Team. We are also emphasizing the importance of combining academics with football. Any player who is unable to do this will be dropped. You can never compare the ball sense and guile of a player who is combining education with football career with that of one who is unable to.”
“Football is about catching them young and this is what we are doing. Talented players abound everywhere in this country and you only need look for them to get enough. We will not relent but will even intensify the programme to bring the best from all the zones. My joy is that the sponsors (Zenith Bank) are also happy with this and have expressed immense joy at how this is turning out. “With the raw talents that we have, all that is left is for us to find ways of exposing them, and we will work very hard at that. We will also ensure we bring the selected players to camp periodically to nurture their talent and add finesse to their game,” Akinwunmi added.
Meanwhile, the Five days exciting youth football event in Kano came to an exciting finale in Lagos with South East U15 boys emerging champions after a 5-2 spanking of their North West counterparts. The South West emerged champions of the last year’s edition, while the North Central was the champions of the U13 competition after defeating South West 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Kano last weekend, the final game between the North West and the South East ended 2- 5 respectively.
Most Valuable Player and Top Scorer of this year’s competition, Divine Nwachukwu netted a hat –trick to steer the South Easterners to glory. His goals came in the 32nd, 43rd and 53rdminutes. Franklin Eneh had put South East ahead in the 21st minute, with Oluebube Oguduba sealing victory for them in the 75th minute. Ibrahim Saifulahi netted both goals for equally impressive North West in the 52nd and 60th minutes.