Anambra: Igbo-ukwu Wins Aguata Community Shields Football Competition

By Izunna OkaforĀ 
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It was a victorious moment of jubilation for the youths of Igbo-ukwu community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, over the weekend, as they emerged champion at the recently concluded Aguata local government's football tournament.

Proudly sponsored by the MD, Tropical Gate Foundation, Apostle Nnamdi Nwaigbo, the competition, tagged "Aguata Community Shields (Football Competition for Communities in Aguata)" saw the participation of all the 14 communities in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, and saw many youths and communities smiling home with mouth-watering prizes.

Addressing newsmen at the grand finale of the event, which held at the Central School Field, Amesi; the Local Organising Committee Chairman of the competition.

Dr. Watt Nwankwo revealed that the competition, which was the first of its kind, had exposed some amazing sporting talents among the youths of Aguata communities.

While appreciating the sponsor, the teams, his fellow committee members and Amesi community and Aguata Local Government Area in general for ensuring a very smooth and successful competition; Dr. Nwankwo noted that the event would sustained annually, and expressed optimism that there would be greater competition next year, where scouts from various football academy and organisations will also be on ground to harvest some young talents.

Earlier in his own speech, the sponsors and the Managing Director, Tropical Gate Foundation, Apostle Nnamdi Nwaigbo, said some of the reasons for organising the competition were to engage the youths and the society in sports, to quench the insecurity situation bedevilling the region in recent times, to discover the sporting talents among the youths, to secure the future; to impact positively on the society, among other reasons.

He said, "Our organisation, Tropical Gate Foundation, understands the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, part of which is eradicating poverty. So we felt that, sport, if well managed, can be a tool for poverty eradication; hence we ventured into it, because there is an economy that goes around sports activities. By this, intentionally, we are equally using sports as a tool for social growth/development and security management."

Apostle Nwaigbo, who stressed that his sponsoring of the competition has no political undertone, revealed that it was part of his foundation's corporate social responsibility.

He said, "That is why, in the wisdom of this foundation, we said we would start first to what is called Corporate Social Responsibility. But because we are futuristic in this foundation, we are going to take it up to what is called Shared Values, where both the sponsors, the participants, sports enthusiasts can be part of all the win-win games in the activities of soccer and other sports in this area. Therefore, our intervention and involvement here is intentional, continuous, measurable, futuristic and achievable."

In their separate remarks, the Vice President General of Amesi, Mr. Sixtus Unigwe, and the Secretary General, Mr. Afam Okpala Uzuegbu appreciated the organisers of the competition, especially for its smooth, peaceful and successful conduct. They expressed optimism that the competition would grow into being not only an avenue for exporting Aguata youths to the world, but also an economic stimulator and development facilitator.

Representing Chief Valentine Ozigbo at the event, Hon. Peter Umeonwuka recounted that he was among the team that organised a football match played in the 80s in Amesi, which brought FIFA referees who came to officiate the matches, before other communities in the area started borrowing a leaf from them, the fruit of which the community is still seeing till date.

He said, "You may not know the worth or value of what you are doing now by organising this competition, until years to come. However, I wish to remind you that this still needs more orientation; and the town unions of all the communities concerned should be adequately involved and carried along, for greater output."

The grand finale of the highly competitive football match saw Igbo-ukwu community emerging the Champion, with a cash prize of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) and a golden trophy; while Isuofia and Umuchu communities came second and third, with cash prizes of three hundred thousand naira (300,000) and two hundred thousand naira (200,000) respectively.

Other consolation prizes awarded at the competition include: Fair Play Team (Ikenga), Best Player Ewezuga Ilomba (Isuofia), Highest Goal Scorer, Ezeokoye Onyeka (Ekwulobia), Best Keeper Emeka Okonkwo (Isuofia), and Best Coach Chekwube Okonkwo (Isuofia).