ABUJA – Organisers of the President’s Cup Tournament said on Wednesday they were discussing with foreign football academies on the training of talents that would be discovered during the competition.The Vice Chairman of the board of the tournament, Mr. Darlington Anyanwu, told a news conference in Abuja that the tournament’s patrons, who were ex-internationals, were willing to contact their former clubs in Europe for an exchange programme.
“At the board level of the President’s cup, we have initiated discussion with foreign soccer academies and Amb. Kanu Nwankwo is the chairman of the board; we have people like Tijani Babangida and so many other ex-internationals.
“We have had very useful discussions with them and they are willing to get across to their former teams in Europe for exchange programmes (in) their soccer academies.
“On our part, we have started discussions with world class academies.
“The whole idea is that at the end of every year, working with the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), we should be able to have players that have been identified that want to use football as career.
“And what we now do is send some of them to be trained and some of them can be given to our national teams as the need arises, so that they can now pick up from there,“ he said.
Reports state that the President’s Cup is a private sector-driven initiative for the nationwide development of football at the grassroots.
The tournament is for players between the ages of 16 years and 19 years and will begin at the local government level with the grand finale to be played at the national level.
Earlier, Chairman of the tournament’s Organising Committee, Alhassan Yakmut, noted that states’ participation was almost at no cost.
“The states were supposed to be mobilised for the participation and we have agreed with them that that will be done before they come for the zonal eliminations, because you wouldn’t know who to give money to and what he has done.
“But we have the understanding of forum of the Directors of Sports and forum of Secretaries of state FAs who participated in the retreat for sincerity of commitments and it was on that basis that they were able to tidy up the state chapters.
“And before we start the zonal elimination, the mobilisation subsidy will be released to them and at the zonal level they will be given transport subsidy and free accommodation and feeding while we take care of the remuneration of the technical officials.
“So, virtually, they are participating at no cost while we are also intensifying our marketing and sponsorship,“ he stated.
Newsmen reports that 30 states have already concluded their state finals with five states left, while two states have not shown participation interest.
The zonal elimination for the tournament will be played in the six geo-political zones from January, 9 to January,13, 2015.
Two teams each would qualify from each of the geo-political zones for the Round of 16 matches to be played in four centres in Abuja between January, 19 and January, 21.
The quarter-final matches will be played on January 23 while the semi-finals will be on January 25 also in Abuja.
The third place match and the final match will be played on January 27 and January 29, respectively, at the National Stadium, Abuja.