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Gov Diri Kicks Off Nigeria’s Biggest Grassroots Football Tournament in Yenagoa

Season 6 of the Bayelsa State Governor’s Football Tournament christened the Prosperity Cup has kicked off in Yenagoa with over two hundred teams jostling for glory in 22 centers across the eight local Government Areas.

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo took the symbolic kick-off to herald this year’s spectacle after the ceremonial introduction to the LOC, teams and officials accompanied by Dr (Mrs) Gloria Diri, wife of the governor and other top government functionaries.

Governor Diri noted that Bayelsa has taken sports as a major tool to keep the youths far off drugs, criminality and other social vices, pointing out that the successes recorded in the last edition is a testament to the important role the tournament is playing in engaging the youths meaningfully.

According to him, the state is committed to the development of sports which has amassed numerous achievements in the last four years of the Prosperity Administration, across board particularly in football, wrestling, basketball, table tennis, athletics, para sports which has accounted for the success recorded in the last two National Sports Festival.

He urged fans and stakeholders to take the tournament seriously pointing out that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s endorsement of the tournament in the next two years was indicative of the global recognition accorded to the tournament.

The state helmsman reiterated the call for multinationals and international oil companies and the organized private sector to invest in sports development, stating that by investing in sporting activities, IOCs and the corporate world would have contributed to the growth and development of society immensely.

He stressed that sports was a veritable tool to positively channel the energies of the youths, thereby reducing the rate of crime, social vices and other forms of violence.

The governor appreciated the sponsors: Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Premium Trust Bank, Linkage Assurance, Ken Etete of Century Group, Ayalla Group, Grooming Center, Amadeus University, Red Tech, Hamilton Gardens, Phone Headquarters and Aqualina Waters.

Earlier in an address of welcome, the Commissioner for Sports Development, Hon Daniel Igali, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Grace Alagoa, charged all the participating teams to abide by the rules of the game.

In his remarks, Director-General of the Tournament, Mr. Ono Akpe, said the tournament would witness a three-in-one competition; the Para Soccer, Male Tournament and Female Edition, stressing that he was pleased with the exciting display of footballing skills by both teams in the opening match.

The DG appreciated,Dr (Mrs) Gloria Diri, wife of the Governor for her support of the female sports in the state through her Gloria Diri Foundation and in particular the foundation’s partnership with the Bayelsa Governor’s Football Tournament in the female edition.

Mr. Akpe explained that in the coming days, the tournament would kick off in 21 community fields in all Local Government areas of the state maintaining that Bayelsans should expect the best grassroots football in the various centres.

Following the tournament’s tradition, Defending Champions, Krusaders FC of Peretrogbene started the tournament, and went on to beat Police Machine FC 3-0 at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa in the curtain raiser of the tournament.

Goals from Moses Anthony, Iwasoma Hansil and Paul Kememiah on 17, 28 and 45 minutes ensured that the Police Machine FC went back home empty handed.

Also in attendance were the member representing Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Fred Agbedi,member representing Ekeremor Constituency 1 and the House Committee Chairman of Sports, Hon. Tare Porri, Hon Mitin, Hon A. Egba, Head of Service, Barr. (Mrs). Biobelemoye Charles-Onyema, Prof Nimibofa Ayawei, Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff Government Dr Peter Akpe;

Others are Chairman, People’s Democratic Party, Bayelsa State, Hon. Solomon Agwana, commissioners, Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Local government Chairmen, Permanent Secretaries, Director of Sports Sir Braveman Wodi and President of the Super Eagles Supporters Club Dr Johnson Dagana.

Season 6 of the Prosperity Cup promises to eclipse the achievements recorded in all other editions.

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