Nigeria’s Largest And Most Prestigous Grassroots Football Tournament, Bayelsa Governors Cup, Season 5, Set To Kick Off
The 5th edition of Nigeria’s largest and most prestigious grassroots football tournament, Bayelsa Governor’s Football Tournament known as the Prosperity Cup is set to kick off.
The tournament organized by Bayelsa State Government and managed by Abuja based company Red Sapphire is held in support of the sports-loving Governor, Senator Douye Diri’s efforts to positively engage youths of the Niger Delta through sports.
It is targeted at developing football talents at the community level, stimulate youth empowerment and enhance overall grassroots development thus engendering inter-communal interaction, peace and unity in the region.
The Prosperity Cup, initially known as The Restoration Cup was conceptualized during the tenure of the immediate past Governor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson and the maiden edition was held in 2015. About 110 teams from various communities, football academies, religious bodies and tertiary institutions, participated. Ewoama FC, of Brass LGA won the competition, defeating River Ramos FC of Ekeremor in the finals played at the Nembe City Stadium; a showpiece that produced Okardi Inikurogha who is currently plying his trade with French side Grenoble FC.
In the second edition in 2017, about One hundred and fifty teams took part in the tournament as Peretorugbene FC of Ekeremor emerged winners at the fiesta in a game decided at the Samson Siasia Stadium defeating Opu Nembe Fc of Nembe.
Okolobiri FC from Yenagoa Local Government Area won the third edition in 2018 after they beat Ekeremor FC in the final at the Samson Siasia Sports stadium graced by the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Akin Dare who dubbed it, Nigerias largest grassroots football tournament with one hundred and sixty teams participating in 2018/2019.
In April 2019, a selected team of the 2018/19 edition, The Restoration Starlets was sponsored by the state government to compete in the African Youth Cup in Cape Verde, where the team came third.
The same team under the tutelage of Coach Diepreye Teibowei won the 2019 Bayelsa State Association League on their return from the African Youth Cup outperforming Oceans Boys of Brass to clinch the trophy and equally represented Bayelsa in the National Division 1 playoffs.
The 2022 edition with a total of 210 community-based teams was won by EGM Football Club and attracted International Scouts from France, South Africa, Australia, and Eastern Europe.
In this edition, the first scouting team led Mr. Vincent Onyema included Chief Executive Officer of Aspire Sports France, Mr. Gregory Paul, Mr. Passi Gerald of Olympique Marseille FC of France, International Scout of Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa Mr. Thembela Lesly, Head Coach and Newcastle Jets Coach of Australia, Mr. Hussein Skenderovic.
The second scouting team was led by FIFA agent Ojo Paul Omamomo and included Nikita Poliakov, Dmitrii Churkin from FDC Vista Academy in Eastern Europe, as well as national coach Kennedy Boboye an ex-International and Joseph Eyimofe.
A lot has been achieved in the competition as several players from these competitions now play in different clubs here and abroad including 7 players currently in Bayelsa United’s first team .
AITEO CUP winner Okardi Inikurogha, now in France, won the first edition of this tournament with his team, Ewoama FC of Brass, where he also emerged the MVP of that edition.
The second highest goal scorer in the Nigeria Premier Football League NPFL Robert Mizo, Endurance Ebedebiri, Philip Bob, Bweribo Tarabina and Bayelsa United captain Gabriel Biriduba all played in the tournament.
Egah Saviour, Prince Ebiobowei,Onyesom Precious and others who have gone abroad, equally played in previous editions of the Prosperity Cup.
The task of organizing this tournament is enormous, taking into consideration the number of community teams involved, the spread of matches, financing of the tournament, and managing it with over 10,000 people actively involved.
The tournament which usually spans a period of 12 weeks will kick-off in May and end in early July with about 250 games across 25 community fields in the state.
This year’s edition is supported by DSTV, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Bayelsa State Chapter, Bayelsa State Football Association, Ministry of Youths and Sports Development among others