✍Akanimo Kufre

The quest for who wins the coming Governors Cup in Akwa Ibom state presented an opportunity for Uyo Council Chairman, Dr Uwemedimo Udo and his capable sports committee to put together the Chairman’s Cup tournament as a preparatory platform for spotting talents for Uyo Local Government Area football team.

Youths across the four clans of Oku, Etoi, Offot, and Ikono Ibom gathered with excitement at the Uyo Township Stadium venue for the tournament to showcase their talents and skills in the round leather game.

The hyper euphoria surrounding the Uyo Chairman’s Cup was not surprising as the event came on the heels of Super Eagles 6-0 trumping the Falcons of Sao Tome and Principe at the Nest of Champions, Uyo. It was easy to have a crowd of football fans fill Uyo Township Stadium to witness the tournament while the news filtered into other LGAs.

Uyo undoubtedly is blessed with more sports talents due to the citizen’s access and proximity to numerous sports facilities that decorate the landscapes of the capital. The credit, therefore, goes to the chairman, Dr Udo for choosing to harness the talent hunt football event and the idea to utilise the state government-made facilities to give youths a career chance as well as develop sports tourism in Akwa Ibom’s capital city.

According to Dr. Udo, the major area of focus for the Chairman’s Cup was to prepare Uyo LGA for the Governor’s Cup. As a leader with reputable understanding, Dr. Udo ensured the chemistry between council exco members and staff was given the optimal condition for maximum results during the organisation of the football event. At the opening ceremony, he commended the Honourable Supervisor for Youth and Sports Development Mr. Marshal Effiong “for putting together this initiative on behalf of the council. This tournament is also organised to help us spot talents in football who will represent the local government and even the state at various football competitions. This is a way of encouraging grassroots sports.”

Football has been a unifying factor for long and the social life of Uyo indigenes was mirrored on Wednesday 13th September 2023 as most council officials including the Vice Chairman, Pastor Sylvia Ekong, Secretary of Council, Mr Ubong Udofia, and Leader of Uyo Legislative Council, Hon. Ubong Effiong were around to enjoy a spectacular football display. Also drawn out of busy schedule to witness the mini football festivity was Sir Charles Udoh, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Akwa Ibom State. The Director of Schools Sports, State Secondary Education Board, Mr. Emmanuel Ebong was equally present to add value to the football gathering.

As part of his remark at the occasion, Sir Udoh noted that it was possible to discover future Super Eagles star players from the event and hence was committed to supporting the continuation of the Chairman’s Cup in the future.

Speaking at the closing ceremonies on Friday, 15th September 2023 the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sports and Chairman of Akwa United Football Club, Elder Paul Bassey, who was a special guest at the final, used the medium to advocate for more opportunities to be handed persons at the grassroots level to partake in sporting competitions.

He thanked the Chairman for organising the competition and charged his contemporaries to borrow a leaf.

The Chairman’s Cup when sustained beyond grooming layers for the Governor’s Cup can attract brand sponsorship who conduct business in Uyo capital city and the environs. This will mean more economic activities during competitions beyond the four clans of Uyo. It also means the admiration for Dr. Udo is visionary in creating jobs for citizenry who may choose to fill up gaps in coaching, players, officiating, scouting, grounds/facility maintenance, management, media, and protocols.

The Uyo Chairman’s Cup tournament has therefore come to a close with Offot Clan emerging as champions, however, the journey begins now as the sports development vision of Dr. Uwemedimo Udo must be adopted as a welcome development and supported to draw more talents from Uyo beyond football.

Similarly, if the swimming pool, volleyball, table tennis, weightlifting, and basketball sports are well exploited, Uyo will be setting records as the sports resources center of Nigeria and the capital of sports tourism in the West African sub-region. When the history books are called up many years afterwards it will be recalled that talent development started with Dr Uwemedimo Udo and his team of believers.

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