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LAGOS YOUTH CUP: Genoa chickens out over security fears

By Tony Ubani

THE Lagos International Youth Cup has suffered a postponement following the sudden pull-out of Genoa FC. The Italian youth team shocked organisers yesterday when they expressed fear over security following the attack on Atlas Cove by militants from the Niger Delta.

Their pull-out has forced Lagos State to move the championship earlier scheduled to kickstart from August 1-9 to now hold from September 1 to September 5.

PARTNERING FOR SPORTS GROWTH....... President Umaru Yar’Adua (R) of Nigeria holds a soccer ball given by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula and autographed by former football star Pele, during a signing ceremony for the development of soccer at Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia on July 29. Yar’Adua was accompanied by Minister of Sports Sani Ndanusa, who was a signatory at the meeting. PHOTO: AFP.
PARTNERING FOR SPORTS GROWTH....... President Umaru Yar’Adua (R) of Nigeria holds a soccer ball given by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula and autographed by former football star Pele, during a signing ceremony for the development of soccer at Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia on July 29. Yar’Adua was accompanied by Minister of Sports Sani Ndanusa, who was a signatory at the meeting. PHOTO: AFP.

An angry Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, rejected the reason of security for their pull-out and insisted that Lagos and indeed Nigeria remain safe to all sporting activities. He said that they had instructed their lawyers to ask for a refund as contained in the terms of contract signed by Genoa FC and the Lagos State government.

However, according to the new arrangement, teams would arrive Lagos on the 1st of September and depart on the 5th of September, 2009. Matches would be played on Wednesday, 2nd  September, and Friday, 4th September. Organisers are now faced with the headache of finding a replacement for Genoa with a youth team from the English Premiership and Nigeria’s U-17 team mentioned. The Nigerian flagbearers are poles ahead to replace Genoa as the tournament would serve as a veritable one to blend the team by Coach John Obuh.

Other teams still in the race are Valencia of Spain and Supersport of South Africa.


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