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By James Agberebi: A total of 16 teams, divided into four groups, are expected to battle for honours in the first edition of the Leg Lagos Challenge, a grassroot football tournament organized by Donbalon Sports Commerz and supported by the Lagos State Government.
Apart from the winners who will get a gold trophy, medals and a cash prize; first-runners up goes home with silver trophy, medals and cash prize will go to the team that finish second and the second runners-up who will get a bronze trophy, medals and cash prize, the organisers have introduced a novelty which makes the Leg Lagos tournament different.
The novel tournament will also present individual awards which will be in honour of five former Super Eagles stars, the sponsors and a former top Nigerian referee.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award will be in honour of Austin Okocha, the highest goal scorer named after the late Rashidi Yekini, while the best goalkeeper prize will be handed out in honour of Peter Rufai.
The best behaved team award is named after Mutiu Adepoju and best coach award will go out in honour of Samson Siasia.
The best referee will get the award named after former FIFA-badged referee Linus Mba while the LEG Star Team of the Tournament will be in honour of the sponsors.
All these were revealed by Honourable Ladi Balogun, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Donbalon Sports Commerz at a press conference held on Monday inside the Sport Bar, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Other personalities at the event included Oluchi Tobechukwu, Head of Media and Public Relations, Zenith Sports, (one of the sponsors), Jude Elegbede, Marketing Communications, Zenith Sports and Alhaji Abdulahi Saliu, Director, Marketing/Sponsorship, LEG Lagos Challenge.
According to Balogun: ” What we are unveiling to the world, is a dream of 12 years after the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006 and several declining performances of our national teams in age grade football competitions.
“A frontline Sports Management firm – Donbalon Sports Commerz – was saddled with the private sector-led mission to identify the challenges and profer lasting solutions to these ugly trends in our nation’s football history.
“The results of the field survey and researches were overwhelming but a key part of the practical solutions to these challenges is ensuring a sustainable football culture with durable structures and professional organization in a consistently enabling environment.
“Ultimately, our aim is to create a youth-centric, sustainable football culture in a genuine effort to revive the passionate Nigerian sporting system. Our values include discipline, professionalism, sportsmanship, social changes and career excellence. And our objectives include discovery of talents at young ages, setting the stage to display natural passion and flair for football, engendering competitive spirits among the participants, inculcating the discipline, ethics and skills into the young footballers as requisites for career development and nurturing and managing the discovered talents into stardom.”
The inaugural edition will hold from April 2nd to 8th, 2018 at the Mainbowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium with 16 teams who are yet to be identified, drawn into four different groups at a draw ceremony billed for Saturday, March 18, 2018.
Also, the tournament which will be organised annually, will target participants of verifiable ages between 18 and 23.