The iconic grassroots football competition is expected to serve as a nursery for the discovery of future talents for the country’s national teams
The National Principals’ Cup trophy has been unveiled with two former Super Eagles stars named as ambassadors.
The ceremony which took place at the plush Eko Hotels and Suites was greeted with great fanfare as well as left the crème de la crème of Nigerian football present stunned.
Meanwhile, Nigerian football icons and former winners of the Principals’ Cup Daniel Amokachi and Joseph Dosu were unveiled as competition’s ambassadors alongside African athletic great Mary Onyali.
In a chat with Goal, Nigeria’s sports minister Sunday Dare tagged the competition as a ‘factory’ for produce budding talents for the country, while promising that the tourney would continue to flourish even when he leaves office.
“The return of the Principals’ Cup will ignite the passion for football and also the spirit of competition amongst our youths at the secondary school level,” Dare told Goal.
“Unlike in the past when you see the government do it solely, we have now evolved a public-private model. This is a partnership model that is sustainable and that’s why all the critical stakeholders are on this team, so, it doesn’t matter whether I am a minister or not.
“We’ve seen what has happened to our grassroots development, our talent basket has diminished over the last 15 years and Principals’ Cup is the factory to produce football stars.”
In the same vein, Tony Oritse Pemu, CEO/MD of HideaPlus Ltd – the consultant to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on the National Principal’s Cup elucidates on why the grassroots championship was revived after several years in a state of comatose.
“We have a dream to ensure that the Principals’ Cup not only become the biggest youth sports competition across Nigeria but also an institution,” Pemu told Goal.
“We are looking at building an excellent brand from the competition and from where we are starting from, we done well so far. In the coming days, we shall be unveiling other things that we have in stock towards keeping everyone informed about the tournament.
“You would agree with me that way back, this championship used to be the biggest grassroots championship across the country, but then, it wasn’t really coordinated – while some states were firing up, some were cold about it.
“Although the Principals’ Cup has created its brand before now, we want to ignite that fire and take it to a higher level. In addition, we want to create a system that once you are good, you will get the platform to soar.”
Aside from Dosu and Amokachi, Segun Odegbami, Tarila Okoronwata, Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu and Samson Siasia are among several former Super Eagles’ stars discovered from the Principals’ Cup.
The 2020 edition will commence as soon as the lockdown, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, is totally relaxed.