Prosperity Cup 2023: 214 Teams To Battle For N11m Prize Money In Nigeria’s Largest Grassroot Football Tournament
According to former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger “At a young age winning is not the most important thing, the most important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence” … This quote by Wenger has been the strength of the organizers of the Bayelsa State Governor’s Cup tagged the Prosperity Cup towards sustaining the tournament.
The Prosperity Cup has become the tonic that has lifted the soul of every player, coach, as well as community leader, as the tourney has engaged the minds of youths who are passionate and eager of earning a living through sports.
The tournament over the years has become a platform that birthed many players for the State owned team Bayelsa United, other Nigerian clubs and some European club sides.
Apart from producing players, the Bayelsa State Governor’s Cup has also given young coaches the opportunity to manage teams in the competition , Kenneth Opukeme of Dreams Football Academy and Henserd FC goalkeeper trainer, Guembe Dennis are coaches who have been involved in the prestigious showpiece.
Nigeria’s biggest grassroots football tournament has produced four different champions in 2015 Ewoama community of Brass Local Government Area won the tournament with 106 registered teams.
The Bayelsa State Government’s quest for grassroots sports development continued in 2018 with an improved edition that witnessed 139 teams across the various local government areas seeking for glory, with Peretorugbene community of Ekeremor LGA emerging champions of the competition, then tagged Restoration Cup.
Okolobiri community in 2019 were crowned champions, with over 160 registered teams, in a final that saw the crème de la crème of Nigeria football converged in Yenagoa, including the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, who described the competition as Nigeria’s biggest grassroots football tournament.
Memories of the 2022 edition are still fresh in the minds of stakeholders, especially champions – Eternal Grace Ministry (EGM FC), following their sterling performance to win the trophy.
The Faith-based side started their campaign at the Okordia center with a 2-0 victory over Living Water International Christian Center, beat Igbogene community 2-1 in their second game, and when it seemed they will be knocked out, the Yenizengene based side piped Land Peace FC and Assemblies of God Church to book a place in the round of sixteen.
In one of the round of sixteen games decided in Sagbama, the champions – EGM FC beat Opuokun community 1-0 to move to the quarter finals, and defeated Okoroma Tereke FC of Nembe 2-0 to progress to the semis.
The semi final pairing produced enterprising football from the qualified teams, Anyama community of Ogbia, Agbere community of Sagbama, Odioma community of Brass and EGM FC of Yenagoa. Anyama Ogbia in the semi final failed to continue their fairytale run having stopped Movers FC of Otuasega from qualifying
Odioma community of Brass beat Anyama Ogbia 3-1 to qualify for the final, in a game tagged as the eastern derby, while EGM FC beat Agbere community 3-0 to advance to the final.
For EGM FC and Odioma community it was soul lifting to qualify for the final of Bayelsa State Governor’s Cup for the first time with great prospects.
Two late goals gave EGM FC a 2-1 victory over Odioma FC of Brass despite taking the lead in the first half, an encounter watched by Bayelsa State governor Senator Douye Diri and his deputy senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and other government functionaries at the Samson Siasia Stadium.
The 2022 edition had 210 registered teams with over 204 games played across the various local government. Over 510 goals were scored during the tournament, including six hat tricks.
Three players went head to head with the top scorer award late Ernest Pereowei who scored nine goals in four for his Bebelebiri community, Vincent Azipapu of Anyama community of Ogbia got nine in goals in seven matches, and Robinson Demeoru Ungo scored nine in two games. The best behaved team went to Peretorugbene community for their peaceful conduct, while EGM FC’s goaltender won the best goalkeeper of the fiesta.
With the 2023 edition of Nigeria’s biggest grassroots tournament the Bayelsa State Governor’s Cup tagged the Prosperity Cup, already in the offing, football stakeholders are already in joyous mood, and cannot wait to witness the best of grassroot competition in the country.