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James Ibori U-19 football competition semifinal holds tomorrow in Oghara

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The maiden edition of the Chief James Onanefe Ibori U-19 Football tournament has entered the semifinal stage with Aniocha North, Ndokwa East, Ethiope West and Patani Local Government Areas eyeing a place in the final tomorrow.
  
The Chief James Ibori football competition is being organised by Sports & Youth Development Academy (SYDA) to create a platform for youths in all 25 LGAs of Delta State to showcase their talents.

The semifinal matches will hold tomorrow at Oghara Township Stadium with Oghara team, which is representing Ethiope West facing Patani at 8.00 am tomorrow, while Aniocha North tackles Ndokwa East at 3.00pm. The final will hold on Saturday.

Chief Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, is expected to grace the final with top dignitaries expected from within and outside the state.
  
A member of the organizing body, Dr. Henry Ofa has enjoined football-loving people of Oghara and Ethiope West Council in general to give morale and financial support to the team flying their flag in the competition.

“It is our prayer that the team representing Oghara should qualify for the finals,” Ofa told The Guardian yesterday. “Some of these young stars could use this competition to create a window of opportunity for themselves as far as football is concerned. Some of them can go on to play professional football abroad. We need to give them both morale and financial support for them to realize their dream.”

To get to the semifinal stage, Oghara team defeated their challenger from Uvwie and Okpe Local government areas.

Some prominent members of Oghara community, including Chief William Makinde have thrown their weight behind Oghara team to lift the trophy on Saturday.

It would be recalled that during Ibori’s tenure as Governor (1999-2007), sports in Delta State hit its zenith. Apart from the construction of stadia in Warri, Oleh, Ughelli, Ogwashi-Uku, Agbor, Oghara and Kwale, his administration hosted the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women Nations Cup twice in 2002 and 2006.

His tenure also saw Delta State winning three editions of the National Sports Festival at Bauchi 2000, Abuja 2004 and Gateway 2006. The state also came second at Edo 2002, thus setting a record that is yet to be equaled by any state governor in the history of the sports festival. 

There was also the Nkoyo Ibori Athletics Championship, where Nigeria and Africa’s topmost sprinter, Blessing Okagbare was discovered in early 2000.


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