…Plans Big for Dream FA Cup Tournament in Anambra
By Jude Atupulazi
Hopes of Anambra State floating a football club any time soon have been dashed as the chairman of the state Football Association, Mr Chikelue Iloenyosi, a.k.a. De General, says the state lacks the financial capacity for such. This is even as the state FA plans to organize what it has described as a dream FA Cup competition.
Iloenyosi who disclosed this during a football stakeholders meeting in at Fidesplex, Awka, said funding of a football team was not something to be rushed but what would require proper planning in order to sustain the club.
Fides recalls that since the demise of such clubs as Udoji United, Jasper United and Gabros International FC, all from Anambra, which played in the nation’s elite league, Anambra is yet to have a club at the elite level. But while those defunct clubs were owned by private individuals, none has been floated by the state as obtains in many states in the country.
Speaking about the possibility of a state team, Iloenyosi had said, ‘I discussed it with the state Deputy Governor and I told him point blank that I’m not ready to run any state football team now.
‘I was very emphatic. I told him pump and plain. I told the Deputy Governor that I’m not ready because we must get done with the grassroots football first. We must count one first before counting two.
Presently, the economy is in a shambles, too bad. You must make sure that government is ready with a good camp.
‘The Deputy Governor said the (former) NYSC Camp could be converted into players Camp and I said yes, good. He talked about Anambra players in the diaspora like Alex Iwobi, among others; that we should go and visit, them and I said, yes.
‘But you cannot talk about state team without being sure of what we have on ground. It’s all about funding. The present government in the state is one I see that have passion for grassroots football. Now, we’ve held a stakeholders summit. We’ve lots of big people in Anambra State that can support us to get money to start funding teams if the FA starts functioning well,’ the FA boss stated.
On the FA Cup, the chairman of Anambra State Football Association announced plans to deliver what he described as the best ever FA competition, with the participation of no fewer than 32 clubs, which, he said, had registered for 2023 Anambra FA Cup.
They include clubs in men’s and women’s categories; 28 and 4, respectively.
Iloenyosi expressed optimism in partnering with corporate organisations, as well as friends, to raise funds for the FA Cup showpiece.
‘I want to make this year’s FA Cup the best ever. We want to make sure that all that participated in the FA Cup have something to take home and be proud of,’ Iloenyosi, a former Super Eagles Player, said.