Nigeria: Rt. Iduma Igariwey Enwo has bemoaned the declining quality of football activities in Nigeria, stating that since 2006, the country has not featured a referee in any major football competition in Africa and on the global stage.
Hon. Igariwey, who represents Afikpo North/South at the Federal House of Representatives, expressed the concern at the final match of the Okpudo Unity Cup, a football tournament he sponsors for the youths of Afikpo North LGA.
He said that prior to 2006, Nigeria was doing well at the global refereeing stage, but the country relapsed because of its inability to develop sports and harness talents at the local level.
He said that the need to encourage talent development at the local level motivated him to initiate the Okpudo Unity Cup tournament a few years ago.
The aim of the tournament, according to Igariwey, is to “discover great football talents and unite the youths as one people belonging to the same local government”.
Igariwey challenged the youths of his constituency to take sports very seriously, stating that he was ready to support them in harnessing the great potential in the sports industry.
He promised to sustain his efforts at developing sporting infrastructure in the constituency, as well as provide relevant contacts that will help young talents realize their dreams within and outside the country.
Igariwey said that he was already in touch with a talent developer in the United Kingdom who has expressed willingness to link the best five talents that participated in the Okpudo Unity Cup tournament to a project with West Brom Football Club.
The Rep presented cash awards to Golden Eaglets FC of Kpoghirikpo, which came 3rd in the tournament; second place finalists Oziddy United of Ozizza, and the champions Amasiri United of Amasiri.
A total of 16 clubs from different communities in Afikpo North LGA participated in the second edition of the tournament, which ended on January 1, 2023.