NDDC tournament will produce new Esins, Okochas, Kanus, says Ighodaro
A Nigerian football agent based in Belgium, Julius Owen Ighodaro, says the second Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Cup tournament would be a breeding ground for future generation of football stars that will replace current players in the youth teams and the Super Eagles.
Speaking from his base, Ighodaro said that he has followed the competition from the first edition, and that he is optimistic the second edition would be more competitive.
The competition is scheduled to hold in Asaba, Delta State from December 10 to 18.
Ighodaro added: “December 10 is arrival of all participating teams, while December 11 is for screening of players.”
He praised Grassof, organisers of the competition, for the foundation it has laid, and urged them not to lower the standard, just as he urged the sponsors, NDDC, not to hold back on anything that will raise the awareness and quality of the competition.
“The competition has caught the attention of football agents across the world. I followed the first edition of this competition from Belgium and I was very impressed with the quality of organisation and competitiveness. I am sure every aspect of the competition will improve,” he said.
Ighodaro revealed that he would come to Nigeria with scouts from across Europe to fish out budding talents in this year’s edition of the competition.
“I am a FIFA licenced match agent, and Belgium player intermediary since 2009. I played for First Bank FC before I traveled to Europe for greener pastures after my retirement. I have been organising matches for age grade teams in Europe.
“I am connected with Grassof, and follows Nigeria grassroots football. The President of Grassof, Mr Ekpenyong, is doing a great job with grassroots football. I see sports development in Nigeria, especially youth football, as slow, but that is about to change with the NDDC tournament.
“A few years ago, I brought top German and Spanish football experts to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to help change our football from grassroots, but NFF frustrated my efforts. We conducted free training at Agege Stadium, Lagos, but the NFF said no money.
“I brought Professor Horst Wein, the man who helped Spain to change grassroots football, but the partnership collapsed.
“We don’t have football models for our grassroots development because it is not well structured. The key to success is to train our coaches from the grassroots, have better facilities in every local council, while the government should support academies and give well run academies qualified coaches, fitness coaches and sports science facilities.”