10th February, 2011
Twelve football clubs across Lagos State are set for the first edition of U-12 Shamsideen Alani OpeÂ soccer championship which begins today at the Julius Berger Euro 65 playground along Oshodi-Mile IIÂ Express Road.
The opening match will be played between Smart Striker FC of Oke-Aro and Adejumo Babes FC of Ijora.
The competition is sponsored by the president of Eko Club, Prince Shamsideen Alani Ope and organisedÂ by the Lagos State Grassroots Soccer Association.
In the fixtures made available to GSG, group A consists of Smart Striker of Oke-Aro, Adejumo Babes ofÂ Ijora, Ajo FC of Ajegunle and Damilola Taylor Academy of Ebute-Metta.
Clubs that will slug it out in Group B are Prince FC, Ketu; Aparo FC, Epe; Okon FC, Iju and All StarsÂ FC, Agbado Ijaye.
Group C is made up of Otta Warrior of Sango-Otta, Akogun FC of Oshodi,Â Jokers Stars of Lagos IslandÂ and FC Robo of Mushin while group D comprises All Stars of Epe, Bora FC of Egbeda, United Stars ofÂ Badagry and Glory FC of Ikotun.
The cup donor, Alani Ope, told GSG that he is sponsoring the under-aged competitionÂ because of theÂ passion he has for the round leather game when he was in school.
According to Ope, he isÂ also given his support in order toÂ Â contribute his own quota to sportsÂ development in the state.
He, therefore, charged other sports philanthropists and corporate bodies to sponsor a developmentalÂ programme that will empowerÂ youths and whereÂ coaches can discover new talents for the state.
â€œNigerian youths need to be empowered through sports so that the high rate of crime will reduceÂ drastically. The competition will help the young lads to exhibit their talents and will give coachesÂ Â an opportunity to scout for players that can beÂ nurturedÂ to stardom,â€ said Ope, who promised toÂ grace the opening match today.
Ope charged the participating teams to desist from vices that can bring the competition into disreputeÂ and warned the organisers to work round the clock for the success of the tournament.
â€œI want to advise the participating teams and organisers to work together for the success of theÂ competition. I want all the clubs to be treated equally throughout the tourney. I wish the teams bestÂ of luck in their outings,â€ he said.
The chairman of theÂ organising commiittee, Samuel Omolayo, assured the cup donor better organisationÂ and officiating. He said they are ready to give their best and promised to provideÂ Â maximum securityÂ during and after the game.
The winners will go home with the sum of N100, 000 and a giant trophy, the first runner up will pocketÂ N75, 000 while those in the the third and fourth positions will be givenÂ N50, 000 and N25, 000Â respectively.