…As Foreign Scouts Spot Several Players
No fewer than ten players including a goalkeeper have been selected at the just concluded 3rd Governor Douye Diri/SPOCS International Scouting Program, in Yenagoa the Bayelsa state capital.
The four-day event concluded on Wednesday at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex, saw several players being screened, and might just be on their way to signing professional deals with football clubs abroad.
Speaking after the conclusion of the Scouting program, Director of SPOCS International, a renowned sports scouting firm, Mr Gbenga Agbejoye, described Bayelsa as a state blessed with an array of talents that needs to be nurtured and taken overseas for professional playing careers.
This is as he lauded the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri for his passion towards the youth development through sports and football in particular, saying with the players selected at the scouting event, the state has proven to be among the best in terms of talent hunt.
“The quality we have seen so far, top quality, I want to say it has confirmed that Bayelsa is the home of football. The last three days we have seen quality players that are better than the players even in the NPFL, for instance the last game played today is far better than the game between Bayelsa United versus Kwara United.”
“I can say these players are heading to somewhere great. I believe in the quality I have seen, and am sure in the next three months you will be seeing in the papers where these players are headed”.
Head of Scout at Spocs, who is representing Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Watford of England, Lockhart Geoff, said he was proud with his Bayelsa experience, particularly with the talents, as well as the hospitality.
“The tempo of the games was competitive and you can see the desire, the hunger the players had to impress to get the chance to go to Europe. So we have seen some pretty good players that we believe we can take to Europe so they can have an opportunity over there.”
Also speaking, German Scout, Mr Borel Moukoko expressed delight with the scouting program, saying he has seen good players with great potentials and quality that can play in any league in Europe.
Deputy Director General of the Prosperity Cup, Emmanuel Appah, who spoke on behalf of the Director General, Ono Akpe, thanked the Governor for his vision in promoting grassroot football, and also for giving the nod for foreign scouts to visit the state to hunt for talents.
“We are happy that the boys showed a lot of quality and the scouts are appreciative of that, and we are looking forward to having these boys sign with big clubs in Europe, and start their careers, and the sky will be the begining point for them.”
“It’s been a fantastic exercise, and I want to congratulate the DG, Ono Akpe for standing firm for this, and having the total support of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Commissioner for Sports, and every other sports stakeholder that contributed one way or the other towards the success of this scouting program.”
Some players and coaches, such as Precious Christopher and Peter Prince of Bayelsa Starlets, Egah Saviour of Bayelsa United Team B, Taofeek Oluwasegun of Excellent FC Ughelli, among others, expressed their happiness playing in front of foreign scouts, saying it was an opportunity and dream of young stars whose desire is to play outside the shores of the country.
Listing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kanu Nwankwo, Kevin De Bruyne, Recce James among others as their idols, some of the players expressed hope of playing topflight football in other parts of the world in the next four to five years.
Chike Akujobi, the Chief Executive Officer of Jobi Sports Academy, Owerri, Imo state, eulogized the governor, Senator Douye Diri, for the prominence he has given to football and sports in general, urging him not to relent on his oars, as only sports can attract lots of youths, and engage them meaningfully.
Eighteen teams participated at the scouting program, with ten teams from Bayelsa while the other eight comprised of teams from Rivers, Delta, Edo and Imo States.
Highpoint of the scouting event on the final day was the cash award of fifty thousand naira to Rachael Onyekwere for her outstanding performance as the centre referee, by the SPOCS team led by Gbenga Agbejoye, while the assistant referees were equally awarded fifty thousand naira.
The programme is a brainchild of the Prosperity Government of Governor Douye Diri and his Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, projected by the Commisisoner of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Daniel Igali, and coordinated by the Director General of Bayelsa State Governor’s Football Tournament, Ono Akpe in collaboration with SPOCS Sporting Consultants, Germany, and Red Sapphire Ltd Abuja.
The scouting program was wrapped up with a novelty match between the Local Organising Committee of the scouting program, alongside the scouts, against a selected All Stars team.