‘Udom for 2019 Unity Football Championship’ set to commence in Akwa Ibom
Succour has come to football-loving fans in the hinterlands of Akwa Ibom State as what has been described as the mother of all grassroots football championships is set to commence in the state this weekend.
Akwa Ibom, which is gradually assuming the position of Nigeria’s choice sports destination, will in two weeks become a beehive of grassroots football activities with the hosting of the maiden edition of ‘Udom for 2019 Unity Football Championship’.
The competition, which is organized by the South South zone of Grassroots Sports Federation, has as its theme ‘developing the game in the grassroots’ and will take place in the State from November 18 – 30, 2017.
Speaking with journalists recently in Uyo, the tournament coordinator, Comrade John Ekpenyong, said matches of the tournament will be played at four centres in the state. Mr. Ekpenyong listed the centres to be Uyo Township Stadium, Uyo, Onna Stadium, Onna, Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium, Ikot Ekpene and the Oron Stadium, Oron.
Group stage matches will hold across all the centres from November 20 – 22, second round matches will take place on November 24 while quarter final matches will be played on November 26. Semi finals will hold on November 28 while the final will be played on November 30 at Uyo Township Stadium.
He said the fifty-two teams who have registered for the soccer fiesta were drawn from hinterland locations across all thirty-one Local Government Areas of the State, adding that the tournament, which is sponsored by an Oron Federal Constituency political elder statesman, Chief Eyo Edet also known as ‘Eyo Suang’, is harness bountiful football talents in the nooks and crannies of the State and to galvanize support for the second bid of Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
He revealed the categories of prize monies to include; Two Million Naira only – first prize, One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only – second prize, One Million naira only – third prize. Other individual awards, ranging from One Hundred Thousand to Three Hundred Thousand Naira, are sponsored by partners and associates, Mr. Ekpenyong said.
Meanwhile a press release, containing the time-line of the championship, signed by the Secretary of the LOC for the tournament, Comrade Edidiong Stephen, and made available to journalists, indicates that the draws ceremony will hold on Friday, November 17, by noon at Uyo Township Stadium while Opening Ceremony has been scheduled to hold on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at Uyo Township Stadium, by two o’clock in the afternoon and the screening of participants will hold on Saturday, November 18 at West Itam Sports Centre from 7:00am to 7:00pm.
According to the statement, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, will be Special Guest of Honour during the Opening Ceremony while the Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Akparawa Inyang-eyen will be Chairman on the Occasion. Others are Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Sir Monday Uko – Chief Host, the Secretary to State Government, Sir Etekamba Umoren – Father of the Day, Chairperson of Akwa Ibom Polytechnic Board, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi – Mother of Day, while the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke will be the Guest of Honour.
Other dignitaries expected to grace the occasion include, the Head of the State Civil Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan, State House of Assembly members, Commissioners, Special Advisers, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sports, Elder Paul Bassey and other SSAs to the Governor, Heads of Government establishments, Permanent Secretaries and Chairmen of Local Government Transition Committees.