Football Association (FA) announced on Wednesday night that it plans to organize a peace football competition to help consolidate the emerging peace in the state.
The Borno State FA secretary, Malam Babagoni Grema stated this in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri.
“We are actually working on plans to organize series of events as part of the post insurgency plans.
“One of these competitions is the Peace football competition aimed at enhancing unity among residents in different parts of the state,” Grema said.
“The competition is targeted at cementing relationship in areas mostly affected by insurgency.
“It will also help in engaging youths in meaningful ventures in areas still prone to the insurgency”.
Grema said that the competition will be staged in collaboration with a yet-to-be identified Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) as well as some donor organizations.
He said that the competition will begin with preliminaries in nine different areas located within and outside Maiduguri the state capital.
“We have chosen nine locations both within and outside Maiduguri. Some of the areas include Budum, Jajeri, Bulabulim – Ngarnam, Kaleri all in Maiduguri.
“There is also a location in Damboa, in Damboa Local Government Area (LGA) as well as a community in Mafa LGA,” Grema said.
He said:” Most of these areas were greatly affected by the insurgency, so we are trying to reorient the youths by channelling their energy to sports rather than other vices.
“We want them to be better citizens as well as create harmonious living conditions in the communities “.
Grema said that the FA was also in the process of organizing a competition for secondary school students in the state.
” Right now we are in the process of staging the Borno State Schools Competition in Maiduguri.
“The event is being staged in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the State Sports Council,” he said.
Grema said that about 30 schools had registered for the competition aimed at grassroots development.
” We have 30 schools already signifying interest in the competition.
“Twenty five will feature in male events while the rest five will take part in female events,” he said.
Grema said that the association will also organize this year’s edition of the Shehu of Borno Cup as well as resuscitate the State League.
The FA chairman said that football had played a vital role in the emergence of peace in the state.
” Football has actually played a leading role in ensuring that peace reign in the state.
“Thousands of youths always throng the El-kanemi Sports Centre to watch league matches every week”.
Grema said that the relocation of the Elkanemi Warriors FC of Maiduguri back home had also helped in engaging youths.
” We always have a mammoth crowd coming to cheer the team to victory since the beginning of the professional league this year.
“We have never experienced this kind of massive turn out in the recent past,” he said.
Grema attributed the development to enlightenment campaign by the State Government on the ills of Boko Haram.
” I think the State Government deserves commendation on this.
“We also have to thank President Muhammadu Buhari whose efforts have resulted in the crushing of the Boko Haram insurgents,” he said.