The Restoration Starlets of Bayelsa State will participate in the maiden edition of the Africa Youth Cup (AYC) slated for April 19-27 in Praia, Cape Verde.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Affairs and Media Director of the Governor Seriake Dickson Football Tournament otherwise known as the Restoration Cup, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who disclosed this to journalists, said the decision was communicated to the organisers, Serahana Sports, through its co-Tournament Director, Mr. Godson Ekadi, at a meeting in Yenagoa on Tuesday.
This followed the approval granted by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
Alabrah said youths selected from the 2018 Restoration Cup in the state will participate in the competition for Under-16 males, with a provision for four to six overage players not above 17 years.
He said the players have been directed to immediately report for closed camping and training at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa.
He commended Governor Dickson’s commitment to youth development and empowerment, noting that the sports-loving governor has time and again proved that positively and productively engaging youths of the state was at the heart of his administration’s restoration agenda.
“By this approval to participate in the tournament, His Excellency has again showed that he cares about the wellbeing and development of Bayelsa youths and the talents that abound in our state. We are very excited about this because for a long time no football team in the state had participated in any competition outside the shores of Nigeria.
“During the 2018 Restoration Cup, we promised to take the talents discovered by our scouts on a playing tour or to a competition outside the shores of the country. Now that promise is being fulfilled. The Restoration Administration of Governor Dickson has therefore opened yet another chapter in our football history and in the development of our youthful talents,” Alabrah said.
The governor’s aide also commended the organisers of the AYC for extending invitation to the starlets following the successes that the Restoration Cup had recorded in the last few years.
“We are encouraged by this development and we hope that our team will also do the state proud in the continental competition that has been described as Africa’s response to similar youth soccer championships in other parts of the world.”
Teams that have reportedly confirmed their participation include the Tanzania U-16 national team, St. Benfica of Portugal, AJSM FC of France, Academie FC of Mali and Kini-Kini FC of Benin Republic.
Others are Napoli FC, Volcan Junior Academie, CF Daraja Sports and Deportivo FC all from the Ivory Coast as well as the Cape Verde U-16 national team and two other teams from Nigeria – United Boys FC of Bauchi and Pawas FC of Jos.