8th August, 2010
The reality of grooming football talents from the grassroots, stared Nigeria at the face yesterday when Lagos United finished the 2010 International Youth Cup as whipping team of the tournament.
The SuperSport Academy of South Africa emerged champions of the Four-Team championship, held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, while the Lagos team finished in the last position withouth a single point.
Lagos United scored only two goals in the weeklong junior invitational football championship but conceded 11 goals in the three matches they played.
The Lagosian youths opened their campaign with 1-2 loss to Ghana’s Liberty Academy before they were walloped 7-1 by the best team in the event, SuperSport.
During yesterday’s round of matches, Nigerian officials, sports administrators and football enthusiasts watched in awe how the Academy team of Ultetch of Holland also defeated Lagos United 2-0 in their final match.
Sean Klaiber’s 12th minute shot from outside the 18 yard box, beat Lagos United’s goalkeeper, Ishola Muritala before sailing into the net to give their opponents from Holland the lead.
The Dutch side wrapped up the match with a 36th minute’s volley from Soufian Elhcharaf caught Muritala napping before the break. The Lagos youths tried to fight back in the second half but failed to reduce the tally.
Winners of the Lagos Youth Cup, SuperSport defeated Liberty Academy 2-1 but the Ghanaians youths finished second while Utrecht ended in the third position at the end of the tournament.
It showed clearly from the performances of the teams featured in the youth tournament by the three visiting teams from South Africa, Holland and Ghana, that they have structured youth development programmes at the expense of the Lagos team, who were brought together about three weeks ago.
Meanhwile, skppier of Lagos United, Thomas Kanu expressed sadnedd over their poor performance in the tournament, but applauded Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola for giving the youths a chance to exhibit their talents.
By Adebobola Alawode