By Abubakar Hassan

The 2019 edition of Niger State Governor’s Cup tagged ‘Kontagora 2019’ has been slated to kick-off on 20th December 2019 at the ancient city of Kontagora, in Kontagora Local Government Area of the state.

The First Vice Chairman of Niger State Football Association (NSFA) who is also the Chairman of Organizing and Disciplinary Committee of the state FA, Alh. Yabagi Baba made this disclosure during a stakeholders meeting, held on Friday at the state Ministry of Sports Development Conference Hall, in preparation to the Governor’s Cup, Friday.

He explained that it was not easy to organize a championship of the Governor’s Cup status, saying that their major challenge was sponsorship of the championship and it was the reason the 2018 edition could not hold despite the approval from the Governor and draws also been conducted.

Alh. Yabagi disclosed that the state FA gave the hosting right of the championship to New Bussa, the headquarter of Borgu local government, but for logistics problem that was not possible and the FA decided to take it to Kontagora, disclosing that the whole matches from preliminaries to the finals will be played in Kontagora.

He informed the stakeholders that the state FA agreed to use the draws conducted for the 2018 edition which could not hold and that the meeting was to brainstorm on how to make the 2019 edition a success, adding that the FA would not fault any local government who could not make it to the championship because things were a bit difficult at the moment, especially as there were change of guards at the local government councils in the state.

The vice-chairman also informed the participants at the meeting that the championship had received the blessing of the state Governor, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello and also the endorsement of the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs who promised to support the FA for a successful tournament.

He also disclosed that the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Emmanuel Umar had assured that the state government will grace the finals of the championship.

He reechoed that the arrival date for the championship is on 19th December and on the same day the group photograph and technical meeting will take place, warning that any team that did not take the group photograph before midnight of the arrival date would not participate in the championship.

On players eligibility, Alh. Yabagi said any player who participated in Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Nigeria National League (NNL) and Nationwide League One (NLO) in the last two season are not eligible to participate in the championship.

A board member of the state FA, Comrade Barau Awaisu Kuta observed that any team submitting a protest should back it up with proves as the state FA would not be responsible for that.

Some of the stakeholders at the meeting raised a lot of issues seeking clarification and appealed for fair officiating form the officiating officials that will handle the matches.

The 25 local government areas that will participate in the championship were grouped into eight groups with only a team to qualify from each group for the quarter-finals.

The 2017 edition took place in Mokwa town, the headquarter of Mokwa local government area of the state, and Bida local government emerged the champions after defeating the host, Mokwa local government team by 2-1.

TAURARUWA