Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO) has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation led by its Founder/ President, High Chief Summers Nwokie, towards staging the maiden edition of NLO Super Cup in Owerri, Imo State.
Both parties put sealed the MoU on Friday at the corporate office of Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation in the presence of NLO top brass, His Excellency, Silas Agara, Chief Operating Officer, Olushola Ogunnowo, officials of Imo Football Association, Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation and journalists.
In his welcome address during the epoch-making occasion, the Founder/ President, of Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation, High Chief Summers Nwokie said that it was his passion for football and humanitarian commitments that prompted him to sponsor the NLO Super Cup Championship and it was borne out of the success story of his pet club, Ikukuoma FC of Mbaise, Imo State.
The grassroots football philanthropist gave an account of what he has done to advance the cause of grassroots football including sponsorship of notable competitions within Mbaise and Owerri zone.
High Chief Nwokie also canvassed for the support of other well-meaning Nigerians to ensure grassroots football continues to flourish.
“It is for the love of soccer and a prioritized social responsibility in line with my humanitarian commitments, that prompted my resolve to sponsor the NLO Super Cup billed for early September, High Chief Nwokie started.
“The enviable success of my pet football club, Ikukuoma FC at the just concluded Nationwide League One Under 19 Youth League held in Awka, Anambra State has energized and boosted my commitment to grassroots football with 80 per cent of the players in the team products of my tournament (Ikukuoma Mbaise Unity Cup Tournament and Secondary Schools Football Competition).
“I want to use this medium to urge other well-meaning Nigerians to get involved in the development of these laudable sports so as to enable the country to attain its expected height in world football. ”
In his opening remarks, NLO Chief Agara described Imo State as his second home as he commended High Chief Summers Nwokie for his giant strides in grassroots football and added that the NLO’s doors are wide open for collaborations with people like the President of Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation to help take the league to greater heights.
The former Deputy Governor, of Nasarawa State, opined that the new watchword of the NLO is to ensure that players from grassroots clubs in the Nigeria Nationwide League form the bedrock of the national youth teams in the near future and that different steps have been taken to ensure the NLO has a more professional approach.
“Imo State is like a homecoming. It is my second home and I feel proud to identify with people from Imo State,” Agara began.
“I stand boldly on behalf of the Nigeria Nationwide League One to identify with my brother High Chief Summers Nwokie who has taken this bold step to partner with the NLO and also to put smiles on the faces of our young footballers from all the parts of Nigeria. It is what we expect from those God has blessed so that they can open the doors for others.
“Sports is a big industry and it can accommodate the teeming Nigerian youths by deeply engaging them in a meaningful way that they can add to that development.
“High Chief Summers Nwokie has honoured the NLO and I wish to honour him in the same manner. When I see someone that is into grassroots sports I have a passion to relate with such a person.
“Our passion in the NLO is to make sure that the crop of the national youth team players come from the grassroots clubs – clubs that are from the NLO.
“If we can get it right in the NLO, then we can begin to change the way the NNL and NPFL clubs are run. NLO is happy to partner and open a new chapter with you. The MoU we have signed will go a long way to show what we can do together for football.”
Agara further tasked Imo State to take her place of pride in the South-East and he challenged the President of Ikukuoma Sports Development Foundation to help with the rebirth of grassroots football in the South-East for the good of the game.
Agara continued: “Imo is the home of football. Football is not new to Imo State. The state has produced great national players for Nigeria. It is time to go back to the old days when those players emerged from grassroots clubs. I believe Imo can take her rightful position in the South-East with the likes of High Chief Summers Nwokie.
“I want to challenge High Chief Nwokie to change the face of grassroots football in the South-East if others that God has blessed can’t do it. He should do it. A token sent to other states in the South-East can help to change its face in the zone. NLO will be willing to support you and bring the weight of the NFF behind you.”
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