Former Super Eagles goalkeeper and captain Vincent Enyeama and Senior Special Adviser on Sports to the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Paul Bassey, are among top dignitaries expected at the opening ceremony of the Joe Udofia Unity Cup on Saturday at St. Theresa’s Primary School, Use Abat.
According to the organisers, this year’s edition, tagged “Joe Udofia Unity Cup Season 4”, ends on December 26, with 15 villages in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State battling for the top prize of N4.5m up.
Winners will claim N2m with runners-up receiving N1.5m, while the third-place winners pocket N1m.
Last year’s winners Inyang Isong are among a list of participating teams that include Ikot Obio Okon, Ikot Usan, Ikot Antono, Ikot Edet, Awat Nkang, Use Abat, Ikot Odiong, Atan Aya, Ikot Amba, Ikot Akpan Atai, Ikot Udo Ibiono, Nkwa Ibiono, Ikot Akpan and Use Ikot Odiong.
The tournament, sponsored by Vandrezzer Energy Services Limited, aims to unearth the next generation of football stars, with the best players selected for trials with Vandrezzer FC, a Nigeria National League club owned by Vandrezzer Energy Services.
“Through this, young talents are handed opportunities to play professional football,” tournament Media Director George Essien said.
In collaboration with foreign partners, the organisers also seek to facilitate the transfers of talented players discovered during the tournament to clubs across the world.
Inaugurated four years ago with eight teams, the competition was expanded to 15 teams last year. In the first two seasons, nine teams from Use Abat community participated, while Season 3 witnessed an expansion of the tournament to six communities in Ibiaku, totaling 15 teams.
All the participating teams will be fully kitted by Vandrezzer Energy Limited.