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Nigerian Football

Channels Kid Cup Goes International

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BY CHINWE EDOGA

Like a mustard seed that grows into a big oak, the Channels Kid Cup which is in its ninth edition is going international.
The novel grass root project which had a humble beginning as a competition for primary schools in Lagos State gradually expanded to become a national competition now endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation.
The growth did not stop there. According to a media release sent to Sports Village Square, the organizing committee of the Channels Kids Cup has confirmed readiness for the first international edition of the grassroots football tournament.
“This is the ninth edition of the competition and the first in its international series after schools from Ghana and Benin Republic confirmed availability to compete with fourteen schools chosen from the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
“The competition is for pupils in primary school under the ages of thirteen and operates with a philosophy of zero tolerance to age cheat.
“The tournament has a strict screening policy and the process is repeated on match days to ensure schools comply to the rules and regulations of the tournament” the press release signed by Austin Okon-Akpan, head of Sports Department of Channels Television, read.
According to the chairman of the organizing committee, Steve Judo, this year’s edition has a major objective of promoting football at the grassroots.
”It goes beyond playing football. We are teaching these kids the core values that will make them good sportsmen and also making them understand the essence of combining education and sports from an early age”.
The Channels Kids Cup has also been endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation. 1st vice chairman of the federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Youth development committee described the competition as a model for football development in the country.
”Every year, the Channels Kids Cup keeps getting better and the NFF will continue to support the project the best way we can. It is a laudable platform to discover and nurture future champions. We should monitor it closely”. Akinwunmi concluded.
Some players from the Channels Kids Cup are already having promising football careers. The 2013 most valuable player, Million Koma is now a player of Enugu Rangers and emerged the highest goal scorer at the recently concluded NPFL U-15 promises tournament.
Simon Akpomedaye also featured in the 2013 edition with the Ogedengbe Primary School from Delta. After the tournament, he has featured for the National U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets and currently plays for Warri Wolves.
In 2015, St. Paul’s Anglican’s Afolabi Yusuf dazzled at the Lagos Preliminaries and was awarded scholarship to play football and further his education. The Channels Kids Cup is already a winning brand.

Schools will start arriving in Lagos for season nine of the competition from Saturday, May 20th 2017. The draw ceremony and unveiling of jerseys will be done on Sunday, May 21st while action will commence on Monday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The final game will be played on Children’s day, May 27.

The following schools that will compete at this year’s edition.

(1) Niger State – Waziri Primary School, Minna

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(2) Kwara State – Burhanudeen LGEA Primary School, Ojagboro, Ilorin

(3) Sokoto State – Turaki Model Primary School, Sokoto

(4) Ekiti State – St Augustine’s Catholic Nursery & Primary School, Osun Ekiti

(5) Edo State – Paragon Demonstration School, Benin City

(6) Rivers State – World Book Capital City Model Primary School, Port Harcourt

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(7) Abia State – City Primary School Umuahia, Abia State

(8) Imo State – Community School, Ezima Obaire, Imo State

(9) Ogun State – African Church Primary School, Onibuku, Ado Odo Ota

(10) Osun State – Islamic Government School, Modakeke, Osun State

(11) Kaduna State – LGEA Jaafaru Primary School, Kaduna

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(12) Kogi State – Islamiya LGEA School Kabawa, Lokoja

(13) Lagos 1 – Xplanter Primary School, Ikorodu

(14) Lagos 2 – Community Primary School, Abule Egba

(15) Ghana – Abeka 4 Basic School, New Fadama Accra

(16) Benin Republic – Saint Louis de Seme Krake

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Finidi deserves our support, says former international, Kingsley Onye

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NFF Confirms Finidi George

Ahead of the first press parley that Super Eagles’ new manager, Finidi George is going to have on Thursday in Lagos, former Nigeria international, Kingsley Onye has canvassed for full support for the new coach.

 To him, the time of politicking and pushing for a particular candidate was over. “It is time for all of us to back the chosen one, Finidi George”, remarked Onye who was a left rearguard player in the 1985 class of Flying Eagles who against all odds, upstaged hosts,Soviet Union to clinch the third place in the then World Youth Championships that is now called the U-20 World Cup.

  “Although I canvassed for Emmanuel Amuneke’s candidature, am still happy that an equally good Finidi George got the job”, he said in a phone conversation from his base in the United Kingdom.

  “The fact that some players complained after Nigeria’s second friendly match in March shows that Finidi is a man of his class and cannot be influenced by players’ sentiments.

  “I believe he will take Nigeria to an enviable height, the same way Amuneke too would have done.”

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 Continuing, Onye who played for Enugu Rangers while he was in the country in the 1980s also remarked that he was on the same page with Victor Ikpeba who has asked that Finidi’s assistants should always back him in team selection  and tactical formations.

 “We should be more than 100 per cent behind the coach. If we do, he will perform wonders. He has his own philosophy which we must allow to flourish. He did it will Enyimba, leading the club to success last season and was at the brink of repeating the success before his appointment as Super Eagles’ coach.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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