The maiden edition of Abuja Under 10 Super League kicked off on Saturday, March 31.
The league, organized by four coaches who are determined to promote grassroots football in the Federal Capital Territory, kicked off with two matches on the opening day with Phoenix Football Academy whitewashing Rising Stars FC by 9-1. In the other match, Moyours FC beat Diamond FC by 2-0.
In an interview after the opening matches, coach of Phoenix Football Academy, Udechi Emmanuel explained that the league is meant for Under 10 kids in the FCT stressing that the aim of the league was to expose the kids and also to promote Under 10 championship in the FCT and Nigeria at large in due course.
Coach Udechi who said the Under 10 Super-Four League is a Five-a-side league, added that it was limited to four club this year in order to help the organizers test run it and work towards expanding it to ten-club league by next year stressing that the league would be an annual tournament.
“The league is called Super-Four league. It is for Under 10 kids. It kicked off last week Saturday with two matches.
“My club, Phoenix Football Academy played our first match in the league against Rising Stars Academy on Saturday, March 31. My team won the match by 9-1 while. My players performed very well and some of the players’ parents were there to cheer their kids to victory. We played very well but the team as we know is a team in progress. The league is a five-aside league where five players play for each team.
“Our aim is to expose the kids. As a coach, what I want to achieve in the league is to expose my players and see how they will improve from there.
“Right now the league has no sponsor yet but we are hoping to get sponsors soon. This is the maiden edition of the league so we believe that with time and the help of the media we will create the right publicity for the public and stakeholders in sports and corporate bodies to come in and support the league. The league right now is a project the four coaches of the clubs brought out.
The coach went on to name the four clubs to include Diamond FC based at Utako, Mayor FC based at CITEC Estate, Rising Stars FC based at Apo and Phoenix FC with training base at Maitama. The clubs are all based in Abuja.
He explained further that the “league will be an annual tournament and we plan to expand it to more than four clubs. Initially we wanted to make it ten-club league but we decided to go for four-club to see how we will take it up from there. We plan to expand it to ten clubs next year.
“There will be trophy for the winner as well as individual awards for highest goal scorer, most valuable player and the rest of them. We are working out the monetary award to go with it and this is where we need sponsors to come in and support the league,” the young coach said.
On how he is running if academy, Phoenix, the young coach said it has not been a child play managing the academy.
Phoenix Football Academy started in 2015. With the mission to establish an academy that would be a reservoir of players for clubs and national teams, the academy has kids within the age range of 4 to 17 years.
The academy has over 150 players in its register with more coming in for registration. The major challenge facing the academy is lack of sponsorship as the young coach said the financial burden has been very heavy on him.
“This club is a club for the future. But I need sponsors to turn these kids to stars in few years from now. With Phoenix Football Academy, the future of Nigeria football particularly at any age category is secured. Right now we have initiated Under 10 league in the FCT, the first of its kind in the country. With this league, it will serve as the reservoir of Nigeria players where the various coaches can easily come and pick players for various national teams and tournaments, be it continental or international tournaments. We have senior team which will be participating in the FCT FA Cup this year. They are Under 17.
“Here, we are building a future team that will be able to be starts in the future. Some of our players, I believe, will be representing Nigeria in the nearest future. We are also building a club that will be supplying players to the top NPFL clubs,” Coach Udechi concluded.