A Nigerian lawyer and politician from Ebonyi state, Barr. Iduma Igariwey during the second edition of Okpudo Unity Cup tournament which ended on January 1, 2023 has rewarded the footballers with cash prizes for their active participation in the sport.
Igariwey, who is also a representative of Afikpo North/South at the Federal House of Representatives, presented cash awards of N90,000 to Eaglets FC, which came 3rd in the tournament; N120,000 to second place finalists, Oziddy FC, and Amasiri FC, the champions, received a cash reward of N220,000.
A total of 16 clubs from different communities in Afikpo North Local Government Area, participated in the second edition.
The Rep however condemned the poor football activities in Nigeria at the global stage, stating that since 2006, the country has not featured a referee in any major football competition in Africa and at the world stage.
He expressed the concern after the final match of Okpudo Unity Cup, a football tournament sponsored by him for the youths of Afikpo North.
He said that prior to 2006, Nigeria was excellent at global refereeing stage, but the country relapsed because of its inability to develop sports and harness talents at the local level.He gave reason why he initiated the Okpudo Unity Cup tournament few years ago as the need to encourage talent development at the local level .
According to him, the aim of the tournament is to “discover great football talents and unite the youth as one people belonging to the same local government”.
He charged the youths of his constituency to take sports very seriously, stating that he was ready to support them harness the great potentials in the sports industry.
He promised to sustain his efforts at developing sporting infrastructure in the constituency, as well as provide relevant contacts that will help young talents realize their dreams within and outside the country.
Igariwey said that he was already in touch with a talent developer in the United Kingdom who has expressed willingness to link the best five talents that participated in Okpudo Unity Cup tournament to a project with West Brom football club.