My Encounter With Taiye Taiwo

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Waidi Ibrahim, popularly known as Hoddle, has been organising Pako Mock Nations Cup for  20 years. He spoke with GSG on how he met Super Eagles’ left winger,Taiye Taiwo and his  plans for this year’s edition

You have spent twenty years  organising the Pako Mock Nations Cup, which has produced  notable players like Taye Taiwo, Julius Apele, Akin Ademofe and others, tell us how the  competition started?
I started the competition with four clubs, but later increased to eight teams. I want 12  clubs to participate in this year’s edition  because I want to celebrate the 20th  anniversary of the competition in a grand style.

What should we expect this year?
This year’s edition will be different because a lot of sponsors have showed interest in  the championship. They are happy that I can sustain the tourney for 20 years. I thank God  that the competition has really helped the youths to discover their talents.

Taye Taiwo was one of the players that played in the  PAKO Mock Nations Cup; can you tell  us about him?
Taye Taiwo was  one of the serious players who played for Juventus FC of Idimu. His  friends normally called him Igo (bottle) because he knows how to fire a shot from a long  distance. Any time he wanted to play a free-kick, they would be saying Igo. I am happy  that Taye Taiwo came out as one of the star players from this competition before he  played for Lobi Stars of Markurdi.

Does that mean it was  your competition that connected you with him ?
Of course. When he was playing with Juventus FC, I fell in love with him because he was a  very serious player. When he was invited to the Flying Eagles for the FIFA World Youth  Championship in Holland in 2005, I was not surprised.

The Lagos FA has concluded plans to pounce on football organisers who have not registered  with it, what is your take on this?
It is a very good idea because we have fake football organisers who collect money from  club owners without organising any competition. However, the Lagos FA has not done much  to develop grassroots football.

What do you want the Lagos FA to do for  grassroots football organisers?
We want to feel their presence in grassroots football competitions in Lagos. Let the  officials begin to monitor the grassroots football and correct the system that has been  bastardized before it gets out of hand.

Where is  this year’s edition holding?
We will start the competition on 6 November at the Omitutu Playground, Akowonjo, Lagos.