The essence of giving grassroot football the much needed attention came to the fore on Thursday, April 29, 2010, during the finals of the Deputy Senate Presidentâ€™s Cup which took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
The competition which is in its second edition saw Awgu team defeating their Udi counterparts 5-4 on penalties after full time score stood at 1-1 to win the top prize of N1 million. Udi had opened scoring in the first half and led through to the second stanza but poor defensive approach saw Awgu equalizing late in the game. Earlier, Anirin Local Government team won the 3rd place position by beating their opponents.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, cup donor and Nigeriaâ€™s Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ikweremadu, expressed satisfaction with the level of professionalism displayed by the organisers and participants in this yearâ€™s competition. Ikweremadu, who felt elated with the level of progress so far attained in the tournament since its introduction says, â€œThis is one of the best football competitions we have witnessed in the country in the past one year. No doubt it is better than some of the local league matches and I believe we can sustain what we are doingâ€.
â€œOur main objective is to ensure that we assist the youths by being gainfully employed through football. We want to make sure that the youths are able to have alternative employment opportunities to be able to fend for themselves and also their family by earning millions. So, we are setting the pace so that others will followâ€.
Enugu Governor, Barrister Sullivan Chime, in his address commended Ekweremadu for helping the youths in the state to eschew violence and other social vices by sponsoring the tournament. â€œOn behalf of the state government and good people of Enugu state, I want to say that we will continue to encourage the DSP for encouraging and empowering our youthsâ€. The least we can do is to give it an official state government endorsement.
Before now, I have already informed other zones in the state (Enugu East and Enugu North Senatorial zones) to also encourages their youths by coming up with this kind of competitionâ€. â€œAt the state level, I believe when the champions emerge the state will surely play a major role to ensuring that we get a good representation in any competition anywhereâ€.