Former Super Eagles striker and English Premiership great, Victor Anichebe, says he is willing to partner with Anambra Government to provide synthetic pitches in schools in the state.
Anichebe made the appeal at the final of his maiden grassroots football championship for youths in Anambra, held at Nri Boys High School in Anaocha Local Government Area on Sunday.
He said that he hoped to achieve the development of youths through his “Own Goal Project’’.
The player, who made his mark at Everton FC of England, said there were lots of talents that were not in an environment that could help to develop their talents.
“I just think it is important to support the youth, I am where I am because of the support of some other people.
“And it is for me and other people that played the game as well as the government to give the youth the necessary lift.
“I plan to partner with the state government to do more things like this with my “Own Goal Project’’ and application that can be used to showcase the talents of these young ones across the world.
“The quality of play is good, it could be better; the field is not the best and hopefully with the collaboration of the government I can help bring better pitches to my state,’’ he said.
“I intend to put a synthetic pitch here and that is the way forward for youth football in Nigeria, we need the pitch because it serves in all weather.
“Let us be honest to ourselves, if we want to be a strong nation in youth football, we can’t continue to play on pitches like this.
“In England, we have parks that have great pitches, these youths need to go and train, they need better facilities and that is what government should do for them in addition to what we are doing.’’
Anichebe appealed to governments in the country to provide basic facilities to effectively harness young talents at the grassroots.
He also urged the Anambra Government to reinvigorate school age sports through greater collaboration between the ministries of sports and education.
The Chairman, Local Organising Committee for the competition, Anthony Ugorji, noted that improving on the sports facilities in schools would make them to become centres of both academic and sporting excellence.
“We must return to the schools and grassroots to rediscover our glory in sports as a nation.
“We must thank Gov. Willie Obiano for his interest and impressive record in youth empowerment.
“We also urge the governor to ensure synergy between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Sports for effective sports development in primary and secondary schools,’’ he said.
He expressed the hope that the competition would continue for more talents to be discovered and urged the government to mentor to stardom those who performed well.
Black Stone Boys of Nri defeated Ogene FC of Obeledu 1-0 to win the trophy with a cash prize of N500, 000.
The runners-up got N300, 000 for their efforts.
Dynamic FC of Aguluzigbo beat Enugu-Ukwu boys 5-4 on penalties in the third place match to get N200, 000, while the latter went home with a consolation prize of N 100,000.