No fewer than 45,000 youths in Anambra will take part in the 2019 football season which is holding from November 2018 to May 2019.
Tony Oli, Chairman of Anambra Sports Development Commission, made the disclosure in Awka on Friday.
Oli said the ASDC was distributing not less than 1,500 branded football to primary and secondary schools as well as institutions that would compete in the football season.
He said there would be six competitions across the various segments of the state for which six cups have been placed for grabs.
He also said that some stadia would be refurbished to serve as venues for the football matches at the advanced stages.
The chairman said schools sports festival would hold during the period to enable Anambra have a pool of athletes who would be groomed ahead of National Youth Sports Festival.
Oli noted that Anambra would be agog with sports activities to enable the commission to achieve its programmes for systematic development of athletes and facilities.
According to him, we have launched our football season which started on November 30 last year and will run till May 27 when the final will hold.
He said: “There will be six competitions in the season, these are the Secondary Schools Academicals that is the Governor’s Cup, Kiddies Cup for Primary Schools and Kings Cup for the 179 communities.
“Others are the Market Exchange Cup for traders, Security Challenge Cup for the security agencies and the Tertiary Cup for the higher institutions in the state.
“We are currently distributing about 1,500 ASDC branded footballs to them and by the time the kick off is done next week, about 45,000 youths will be actively involved in sports unknowingly because of the multiplier effects it will have.
“As the football season is going on, we shall be having our School Sports Festival where we hope to identify the talented young ones that will represent us at NYSF.
“We want to have a pattern, no more fire brigade approach to national competitions again.
“Before the final, we will upgrade and activate some stadiums, including the Ekwulobia Township Stadium, Otuocha Township Stadium, Godwin Achebe and Chuba Ikpeazu stadiums in Onitsha.’’
Oli commended the Anambra contingent to the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja for their performance.
He hailed the team for achieving the best result for Anambra in that competition in the last 20 years infrastructure deficit under which they prepared.
He attributed their success in Abuja to the level of motivation, determination and passion in the team.
He said: “For the records, we won five gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals that placed us in the 16th position on the overall medals table.
“According to the records, Anambra’s best outing at the NSF was in Bauchi 2000 where it won four gold, eight silver and 18 bronze to emerge 23rd.
“This was followed by Ogun 2006 with four gold, four silver and six bronze to emerge 23rd on the table, while their worst outing was in EKO 2012 where it finished 30th with no gold, three silver and two bronze.
“So, that is the best we have had in the past 20 years; so, it is a good starting point, it may not have met with our expectations because we were aiming higher.
“It could have been better but because Anambra has not been active in sports for a long time we lost some gold medals to factors, including sports politics.
“We have learnt our lessons but the assurance is that we are going to commence preparation for `Edo 2020’ as soon as possible, we are going to build on the experience we have gathered.’’
Oli thanked Governor Willie Obiano for creating the ASDC and approving its programmes, promising that sports would come fully alive in the state.