Thirty two grassroots football teams have been confirmed to take part in the first ARK Cup football competition, which is sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development at the Lagos State House of Assembly Adedamola Kasumu.
The competition begins on Wednesday at the Recreational and Vocational Training Centre mini-stadium, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.
Named after the lawmaker representing Ikeja Constituency II at the House, the tournament is coordinated by Atlanta 1996 gold medallist Dosu Joseph and supported by the Lagos State Football Association. It is expected to feature players between the ages of 15 and 21.
At a press conference held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Saturday, the organisers said the competition was Kasumu’s contribution to youth development through sports.
The teams would battle for trophies and cash prizes, which organisers said would be revealed later. The tournament, which would run on a knockout basis, ends on March 29.
Coordinator of the tournament Dosu said the competition would throw up more talent from the grassroots for the national teams.
“It is a commendable effort being made by Hon. Kasumu and I am happy to be involved with it. There are many talent in the country waiting to be discovered from the age-grades. We have plans to invite the national age-grade coaches to ensure that some of the best talents in the competition have an opportunity to make the national teams,” he said.
Kasumu said the tournament would be an annual event.
“The ARK Cup, which is an acronym from my names, is going to be an annual event. It is my hope that through this competition, some future players in the mould of Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, J.J. Okocha, NwankwoKanu, Dosu Joseph, and many more would be discovered from Lagos State.
“I want to call on corporate organisations and well to do individuals in Nigeria to kindly develop more interest in promoting and sponsoring our local football teams instead of investing in the English Premiership and La Liga teams. This will not only raise the standard of the game in our local leagues, it will go a long way in boosting our local economy and empowering our youths.” He added.
Some of the teams for the competition are BAT FC, Future Stars, Akuru FC, 360, Sportom, Smart City, Dream Team, Goro Academy, SC Songhai, Ante, Kadesh, Adonai, Exponent, Sporting, Star Base, Emerald, Samjash and Arepo.