By Abubakar Hassan

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Nationwide League One (NLO), Hon. Ahmed Kawu Mu’azu has said that the Nigeria Football Federation is proud of Niger State Football Association and other stakeholders of the round leather game for their commitments toward grassroots football development.

The chief executive who was a one time chairman of the NLO board made the disclosure during the draws of the 7th edition of Engr. Ibrahim Dada Preseason Soccer Tournament for NLO clubs in the state, conducted last Sunday at the U.K Bello Arts Theatre Hall in Minna.

He said Niger State is one of the leading states in terms of actualizing the grassroots football development programmes of the Nigeria Football Federation, adding that aside Lagos State, Niger state is the only state that carryout grassroots football programmes yearly, such as the Preseason soccer tournament, state Super League among others.

The NLO Chief Executive also said that the NFF was happy with the state because unlike other States there was never a crisis in the state football fraternity and that the unity of the stakeholders was their strength.

He also observed that Niger state was blessed with people who move the round leather game forward in the country, in terms of coaching and administration, adding that football in its entirety makes life easy and that this was why it was created because every stakeholder of the round leather game benefit from it.

Hon. Kawu also expressed happiness with the support the NLO clubs were receiving on the state, saying without programmes and activities by football stakeholders in the state youths restiveness would have been the order of the day, and charged coaches to intensify efforts to produce quality players that will be marketable anywhere in the world.

While commending the sponsor of the Preseason soccer tournament, he also urged the state FA and clubs to woe investors to invest in the grassroots clubs, saying in an organized system both the clubs and FAs have their sponsors, as according to him without sponsors the system will not move forward.

In his remark also, the Chairman of Niger State Football Association who is equally an Executive board member of the NFF, Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh said the job of the state FA was to give approval for the staging of the championship which they have done about seven years ago, adding that the state FA was fully in support of the organization of the championship.

He said Niger State was second to Kano in terms of number of teams participating in the Nigeria Nationwide League, and that the state was first in the entire Northern region in terms of grassroot football development programmmes and activities.

Comrade Yusuf Fresh also recalled how he and Hon. Kawu initiated the move to change the name of league from Amateur League to Nationwide League all in an effort to standardize it and give it a good image, adding that they will continue to do their best to improve grassroot football in the state and the country at large.

The sponsor of the Niger State Nationwide League One Clubs Preseason Soccer Tournament, Engr. Ibrahim Dada Maikunkele in his message to the participants urged them to maintain discipline throughout the championship, saying with discipline one can go far in life, especially in football.

He also promised to continue to commit his resources to assist the youths through the round leather game and that the Preseason soccer tournament has come to stay in Niger state, expressing satisfaction with the conduct of the participants of the championship over the years.

Similarly, the Chairman of Niger state Nationwide League One Clubs Committee, Comrade Adamu Sani Osmond could not hide his joy over the continued support football stakeholders in the state have accorded his committee, and also expressed happiness with the way the tournament had been waxing stronger reaching its 7th edition.

There were also goodwill messages from some of the elders and stakeholders of the round leather game in the state, including the First Fifa badge referee from the state, Alh. Mu’azu Hameed, former green eagles player, Mallam Mukhtar Shehu, President of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association, Coach Isah Ladan Bosso among others.

The Championship was billed to Kickoff January 18, 2020, and the opening match will be between ISS Fc and Sanbell Fc, all of Kontagora, at the Government Day Secondary School, Maikunkele, along Minna-Zungeru Road, by 3:30pm.