Foreign scouts confirm presence as Ikukuoma Mbaise Owerri Zone U-20 Football Tourney starts January 28

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Owerri zone youths will have another opportunity to hone their football skills in the presence of scouts from Portugal, Italy and Spain at the Ikukuoma Mbaise Owerri Zone Under 20 Football Tournament which kicks off on January 28th.

The tournament is solely sponsored by the Founder and President, Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation, High Chief Summers Nwokie and it will have 24 teams drawn across Owerri zone held primarily to take the youths off nefarious activities and also to discover talented youths in football in the zone.

In a press conference held to herald the start of the tournament, the Director General, Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation, Julius Nnaji praised the tournament sponsor, High Chief Summers Nwokie and he added that the owner of Ikukuoma FC derives pleasure in making people happy.

He noted that the tournament which metamorphosed from Ikukuoma Mbaise Unity Cup will help discover talented youths in Owerri zone with the aim of giving them a career and life in football if they do enough to convince the scouts that will grace the tournament.

“In the past we have held Ikukuoma Mbaise Unity Cup which culminated to Ikukuoma Cup. This time around, because of the magnanimity of our founder, High Chief Summers Nwokie and considering the fact that we have a lot of talented youths in football, he thought it wise to take the youths of streets and social vices. It has now been extended to the Owerri zone and it is now called Ikukuoma Mbaise Owerri Zone Under 20 Football Tournament,” Nnaji revealed to the media.

“Most scouts and football agents will tell you that what is required now is between the ages of 17 and 20. Given youth a future is the main aim of the tournament and we must work with the age bracket that will be accepted internationally.”

Nnaji explained measures the organisers have taken to curb age cheat and he also warned competing teams to obey the strict measures taking if they do not want to be disqualified from the tournament.

“We included the NIN number in the players licence. We are working with some persons in NIN office for verification.

“We have 24 teams across Owerri zone. We are in talking term with a scout in Italy, Portugal and Spain. They will be on ground to watch the whole teams play.

“The tournament is solely sponsored by our founder, High Chief Summers Nwokie. We have affiliated the competition to Imo FA and we have written to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Imo state and others.

“We are believing that bringing all these stakeholders together and coming to join us in the competition, we are hoping to have a hitch free tournament.

“The competition kicks off on the 28th January and we are not expecting the tournament to last more than three weeks because we are planning for the scouts to be on ground from the beginning to the end of the tournament. It is our plan.”

Nnaji announced a reward of 5 million naira for the winner of the competition while the second and third spots will smile home with 3 million and 2 million naira respectively among other consolation prizes.

He also noted that there would be prizes for best behaved team, highest goals scorer, best goalkeeper, the Most Valuable Player among others.

“The first position will smile home with five million, second position three million and third position two million. We also have other consolation prizes like best losers which will take home N500,000. We also have prizes for best behaved team, highest goals scorer, best goalkeeper, The Most Valuable Player and so on.

“Our founder High Chief Summers Nwokie is doing it for the love of the game. What we have his true happiness because he is getting to do what he has passion for.

“We are in football business and the plan is to get quality players that will replace some of our players that will be leaving for greener pastures.

“We are also going to get scouts from Nigeria Premier Football League and Nigeria National League teams.”

In the draw conducted at the press conference held at the corporate office of Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation at Egbu Road, Owerri, Group A has Ere Na Ebiringwe (Owerri West), Ogbe Community (Ahiazu Mbaise), and Obizi (Ezinihitte Mbaise).

Group B: Mbieri Community (Mbaitoli), Irette Ward 10, Owerri West and Emii (Owerri North)

Group C: Ihitte Ward (Ezinihitte Mbaise), Ogwa Community (Mbaitoli) and Mpam Ekwereazu (Ahiazu Mbaise)

Group D: Okpofe/Ezeagbogu Ward (Ezinihitte Mbaise), Umuoree (Ezinihitte Mbaise) and Amumara (Ezinihitte Mbaise)

Group E: Ihiagwa Ward 6 (Owerri West), Ibeku Ward ,(Ezinihitte Mbaise), and Lude Community (Ahiazu Mbaise)

Group F: Aguneze Community (Ahiazu Mbaise), Onicha Nwenkwo (Ezinihitte Mbaise) and Umuhu Okwuato (Aboh Mbaise)

Group G: Obokwu Community (Ezinihitte Mbaise), Our Ahiara (Ahiazu Mbaise) and Uvuru (Aboh Mbaise)

Group H: Nguru Nweke (Ahiazu Mbaise), Nnarambia (Ahiazu Mbaise) and Eziudo (Ezinihitte Mbaise)

The opening ceremony and the opening game of the tournament will hold on January 28th at the Ezeagbogu Central School Field, Ezinnihitte Mbaise with Ere Na Ebiringwe (Owerri West) up against Ogbe Community (Ahiazu Mbaise) by 3pm.

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