14th October, 2010
Waidi Ibrahim, popularly known as Hoddle, has been organising Pako Mock Nations Cup forÂ 20 years. He spoke with GSG on how he met Super Eaglesâ€™ left winger,Taiye Taiwo and hisÂ plans for this yearâ€™s edition
You have spent twenty yearsÂ organising the Pako Mock Nations Cup, which has producedÂ notable players like Taye Taiwo, Julius Apele, Akin Ademofe and others, tell us how theÂ competition started?
I started the competition with four clubs, but later increased to eight teams. I want 12Â clubs to participate in this yearâ€™s editionÂ because I want to celebrate the 20thÂ anniversary of the competition in a grand style.
What should we expect this year?
This yearâ€™s edition will be different because a lot of sponsors have showed interest inÂ the championship. They are happy that I can sustain the tourney for 20 years. I thank GodÂ that the competition has really helped the youths to discover their talents.
Taye Taiwo was one of the players that played in theÂ PAKO Mock Nations Cup; can you tellÂ us about him?
Taye Taiwo wasÂ one of the serious players who played for Juventus FC of Idimu. HisÂ friends normally called him Igo (bottle) because he knows how to fire a shot from a longÂ distance. Any time he wanted to play a free-kick, they would be saying Igo. I am happyÂ that Taye Taiwo came out as one of the star players from this competition before heÂ played for Lobi Stars of Markurdi.
Does that mean it wasÂ 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 aÂ very serious player. When he was invited to the Flying Eagles for the FIFA World YouthÂ Championship in Holland in 2005, I was not surprised.
The Lagos FA has concluded plans to pounce on football organisers who have not registeredÂ with it, what is your take on this?
It is a very good idea because we have fake football organisers who collect money fromÂ club owners without organising any competition. However, the Lagos FA has not done muchÂ to develop grassroots football.
What do you want the Lagos FA to do forÂ grassroots football organisers?
We want to feel their presence in grassroots football competitions in Lagos. Let theÂ officials begin to monitor the grassroots football and correct the system that has beenÂ bastardized before it gets out of hand.
Where isÂ this yearâ€™s edition holding?
We will start the competition on 6 November at the Omitutu Playground, Akowonjo, Lagos.