Benin – A former Super Eagles chief coach, Augustine Eguavoen, on Wednesday in Benin said organising youth football tournaments would take millions of youths off the streets and engage them productively.
Eguavoen, while speaking at the Augustine Eguavoen Under-15 Football Tournament finals at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, said such tournaments would help raise a pool of responsive and responsible young athletes.
“Such tournaments will help to raise a pool of responsive and responsible young athletes who will use football as a springboard to having a healthy, purposeful and patriotic life into adulthood,’’ he said.
The former Super Eagles defender said this, in addition to catching the talented players young and giving back to the society, led him to initiate the organisation of the tournament.
“One of the reasons for this tournament is to give back to the society, especially a society whose largesse I benefitted from immensely as a youth playing in various tournaments.
“These are tournaments such as the Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion Cup, Dickson Imasogie Cup and Crystal Cup at the state level, and the Ramat Cup and Manuwa Adebajo Cup at the national level,’’ he said.
The coach said the Eguavoen tournament would help to identify players of the highest calibre on a sustainable basis.
“This will lead to increased success for Edo in particular and Nigeria in general in football competitions,’’ he said.
Eguavoen added that he believes in the tournament’s sustainable goal.
“This is because I am mindful of the fact that the World Bank, in a 2007 report, saidority of the 70 million unemployed Nigerians are youths.
“Also, a Department for International Development (DFID) report states that the ages of the unemployed youths range between 16 to 29 years.
“The establishment of this tournament will therefore help to purposefully engage a good number of these youths in a constructive career pathway, thereby empowering them to be self-reliant.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the final match of the Eguavoen U-15 tournament saw Ineh Stars defeating Oscar football team 5-2.(NAN)