Senator starts football series to end decades-old religious conflicts in Central Nigeria

3 min read

Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang has asked present Governor of the State, Simon Lalong to complete football stadia started in each Local Government by his administration.

This will encourage youths to take careers in football, said Mr. Jang, Saturday, at the start of a “peace and unity” football tournament organized by the Senator representing Plateau North in the Nigerian Senate, Mr. Istifanus Gyang.

According to Jang, the stadia will pave way for tournaments that would produce players for national and international competitions.

Jang, a Senator representing Plateau North in the Nigerian Senate between 2015 and 2019, believes promoting sports will reduce crimes.

“We say youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but we are killing them before the tomorrow. Growing unemployment is forcing some of them into drug abuse and other crimes. But when they are gainfully engaged, they will be more productive,” said the Ex Governor.

Mr. Ahmed Idris, the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, also called for opportunities for youths to explore their potentials.

Idris pledged to influence the replication of Mr. Gyang’s Peace and Unity Tournament across the State.

He however announced a cash support of N4.5million to Mr. Gyang’s tournament. Of the amount, N1million will be awarded to the tournament winner, N7,000,000 to the first runner-up and N500,000 to the third place winner. Equally, a N100,000 prize each was announced for the highest goal scorer, most valuable player and best goalkeeper of the tournament.

This adds to the N6million reward announced by the Captain of the Super Eagles, Ahmed Musa two weeks ago. A N3million prize was announced by the Nigerian skipper, for the tournament winner, N2million for the first runner-up and N1million for the third place winners.

Ahmed, at the start of the tournament at the Rwang Pam township stadium in Jos, appealed for the completion of a FIFA standard stadium under construction for over three decades in the city.

The stadium, Ahmed said would attract international matches that could earn the State substantial revenue.

“Many players don’t like to play under hot weather. Jos has the best weather for any football match and completing this stadium will fulfill the wishes of many of us who have risen to stardom from Plateau State,” said the football star.

The Plateau North Peace and Unity football Tournament aims to build harmonious coexistence in the Constituency that has been “fractured by discord, acrimony, animosity and become an axis of violence,” said Senator ID Gyang.

“Tagging the tournament Plateau North Peace, Unity and Reconciliation Football Tournament is anchored on the desire and need to change the negative narrative and rebuild confidence and togetherness against the challenges of insecurity,” he said.

Gyang added, “The tournament is a platform for the youth to showcase talents hitherto unnoticed and unspotted for want of opportunity.

“This is in keeping with the long established fact of history which records this city of Jos, indeed, Plateau North as the birth place andr riseof many football legends in Nigena.

“We don’t just want to belong to Nigeria’s football history, we want to belong to its future. The way to that future is what we are doing today, giving the stars of the future opportunity to come to limelight. That is why we staged this tournament. It is novel and unprecedented in the history of Plateau North and shall, by the grace of God be sustained at appropriate intervals.”

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