The maiden edition of the Western Nigerian Governors’ football tournament will kick off on Saturday at the Agege Township Stadium, Lagos.
The tournament is being organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission in partnership with the Southwest Football Forum
Eleven teams, drawn from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and Nigeria National League (NNL) across the six Southwest states are participating in the tournament. They are: Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan, Gateway FC, Remo Stars, MFM FC and Crown FC, Ogbomoso. Others are Sunshine Stars of Akure, Spartan FC of Lagos, Akure City and a football club from Ekiti.
The winner will lift a trophy at the end of the one week tournament.
Acting Director General of the commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, who briefed newsmen at the DAWN corporate headquarters, Cocoa House, Ibadan, on Wednesday, explained that the pre-season tournament was aimed at reviving sports, especially football in Western Nigeria, a region that has produced several football super stars in the past.
He added that the tournament has the backing of the governors of the six states of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun and Ekiti.
Oyeleye explained that the tournament, which will be an annual event, will be a pre-season tournament, helping the participating teams prepare for the league season which starts in January.
According to him, DAWN is determined to create the platform for youths in the region to utilize their talents for themselves and the country. He added that the next edition would be bigger as the two organizers would explore the entire value chain of sports to create direct and indirect employment for people in the region.
His words: “The tournament would serve as a platform for the clubs playing in the league to assess their teams, get referees and match officials ready for the new league season and serve as an appraisal for the team on their preparedness for the new season. The competition will equally play a valuable role in helping the players maintain their competitive edge, stay in peak physical condition ahead of the new season, foster better relationships between the fans and the respective teams, provide a synergy for football development programmes among the Western Nigeria clubs and provide an avenue for the discovery of young players in Western Nigeria.”
He added that DAWN partnered with the Southwest Football Forum in order to leverage on their experience that will ultimately help youths to maximize their talents.
In the words of Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, the leader of the Southwest Football Forum and chairman of the Osun State Football Association, the tournament is a huge plus for sports in the Southwest as it will help the region reclaim its glory in sports in Nigeria.