By Ushang Ewa
The Cross River State Government has unveiled plans to host a female football tournament as part of its grassroots program to develop the sector in the state.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Sports Commission, Orok Duke stated in a briefing before the kick off of the final match for the Senator Ben Ayade under 15 football championship which the Community Secondary School Igbeku in Yala local government area beat Government Secondary School Akim, Calabar 2-0 courtesy of a brace from captain, Ogbonyi Michael to clinch the gold medal and a cash prize of N100,000.
Duke said that; “We will be organizing a female tournament also but it will not be an age grade tournament to encourage the development of women football,” and reiterated the commission resolve to develop programs that will encourage youths to channel their energy towards sport as a means of living which will also reduce crime rates.
“This particular U-15 tournament is a grassroots program and we intend to capture these athletes and harness their immense potential at the different levels of the state so that together we would have an U-15 team. After this, we will go ahead with athletics. Here we are with the limited facilities we have, hoping and praying that we would be able recreate a lot of activities in other senatorial districts,” Orok said.
He commended the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade for giving the commission a mandate to reposition sports in the state and said the tournament is in line with the commission’s policy of honoring Cross Riverians who have contributed to the development of the sector in the state.
Ayade who was represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Tony Undiaundeye at the final said the he was happy with the commission’s achievement and promised that the event will improve by the next edition.
“Even if you came and did not play, you should go back and do better than you did today and come back next year. You could cart away a prize close to NGN1million next year,” he said.