Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: National U13 Championship Kicks Off

Arrangements have been concluded by the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) to ensure a hitch free 2012 National U-13 Youth Championship in Abuja.

The tournament which kicks off on Monday 17th December, 2012 is aimed at grooming young football talents of the right ages for the National U-13/U-15 teams and also to reduce age-cheat in Nigeria football.

The competitions

Twelve U-13 state teams from the six geopolitical zones of the country, namely; Ekiti, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Enugu, Imo, FCT, Niger, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kaduna and Sokoto states will participate at this year's edition of the competition.

According to the Media Officer of the team, Bunmi Haruna, the games will be on knock-out basis while the National Team selectors will select the best 25 players that will be invited to the National U-13 Team.

The National U-13 Team's secretary, Wale Adeyinka, says the purpose of the event is not who wins the competition, but to identify the best 25 U-13 players in the country.

"Basically, the purpose is just to identify the talents, not for us to say you are the winner or the runners up, at the end of the day, we are going to pick just 25 players, the best 25 players." Adeyinka emphasized .

The U-13/U-15 Youth Development Programme was initiated by the NFF in 2008, the team defeated youth teams of Liverpool 4-0, Fulham 6-0, Birmingham 4- 1, Chelsea 3-0 and Sporting Lisbon 2-0 to win the 2010 International Youth Championship organised by the English Premier League in London.

Currently, four players; Eze Chidera, Kelechi Iheanacho, Saliu Alibaba, and Taiwo Awoniyi are some of the products of the National U-13/U-15 programme that have been graduated to the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.

Other players like, Aliu Aliu, Oluwaseun Jegede and Aminu Auwalu, who presently are also members of the Manu Garuba's tutored Golden Eaglets, have at one time or the other passed through the National U-13/15 set up.

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