BY MFON PATRICK
The U15 football team of Akwa Ibom State may have failed to qualify for the quarter finals of the LMC /Spanish La Liga U15 Tournament after placing third behind Rivers United and IfeanyiUbah in the South East zonal competition, the state is undeterred in its efforts to ensure good future for the players.
The state commissioner for youth and sports, Monday Ebong Uko has encouraged the players to also take their education seriously, even as they play football. He gave the advice while receiving the e U15 team at the conference room of Akwa United Football Club in Uyo.
The state U15 team failed to qualify from the zone after recording two wins and two losses, with six points from a possible twelve. The team finished third in the group behind Rivers United and FC IfeanyiUbah who jointly topped the group with 10 points each.
The commissioner called on the players not to be laid back by their inability to qualify to the quarter final of the tournament but to build on the experience garnered while also focusing on their academics.
He thanked the team for representing the state at the tournament and urged them to utilize the experience of the tournament into good use, stressing that the exposure will help them become stars for the state and the nation in future.
The commissioner commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for investing in sports development which he said has helped the youths in the state to discover their talents in sport.
In similar vein, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sport and Chairman of Akwa United, Elder Paul Bassey, expressed appreciation to the state governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel for the just concluded first ever Akwa Ibom Youth Sport Festival which he said produced some of the players that made the U15 team.
Elder Bassey stressed that it was necessary for the team to participate at the tournament, adding that the state would soon reap the dividends following the invitation of four players from the team to the National U15 team.
The club boss promised to give opportunity to outstanding U15 players to join Akwa United senior team when they are up to the age of playing professionally.
He charged them to desist from acts capable of destroying their careers but to be disciplined and focused in their chosen career and academic pursuit.
Elder Bassey congratulated the LMC for collaborating with La Liga to give the youngsters the opportunity to take part in the tournament.
In a remark, the Technical Adviser of Akwa United Abdul Maikaba congratulated the youngsters for their efforts at the tournament and promised to give the team technical assistance that will help them to achieve their aim.
Twenty-two players and ten officials attended the two weeks tournament which took place in four centres across the country.
Top two teams from each of the zones will progress to the quarter final in which the winner of the tournament and some selected players would travel to Spain to play in an invitational U15 tournament later in the year.