41 teams from 18 secondary schools in Kogi State will converge for the maiden edition of the Alice Alaba cadet handball championship slated to hold from 9th to 11th February in the ancient city of Kabba.
The three-day handball tournament to be competed for among male and female players, with 11 schools to feature in the U-12 category and nine in U-15 age group will take place at the Saint Barnabas Secondary School.
On his intention to sponsor the championship, Emmanuel Olubiyo, who is an ex-international said he is providing the platform to discover young talents and encourage them to achieve their dreams through the sport.
“God has given us ample glory through handball in Kwara State and I’m doing this in order to discover new talents,” said Olubiyo who hails from Kogi State.
“There are so many people appealing for us to return home and do exactly what we have been able to do in Kwara state in the last 10 years by encouraging young talents to have and build a career through the sport alongside pursuing their education.
“Kogi has done well in the under-age some long years before when Idah used to host cadet championships. Later, Isanlu took over the mantle. This is why we want to bring the programme to the state with the aim of looking at the grassroots. We want to see the potentials in Kogi and how we could to develop them through handball.
On the tagging of Alice Alaba tourney, Olubiyo said: “Mrs Alaba is our late mother who encouraged me while doing sports – she gave me all the support to succeed in handball. This is why I’m immortalising her by naming the championship after her.”
Also speaking, the event coordinator, Mrs Funke Kanjuni, who also played the game, said that all is set for the successful launch and organisation of the championship.
“We have the approval of the ministry of sports, 18 schools are already registered with 41 teams to compete in various categories. We will provide healthy competition to showcase the best of handball at the grassroots.”
The participating schools are St. Peter College, Idah; Holy Rosary College, Idah, Ogah Memorial College, Idah; Islamiyya Model Secondary School, Idah; Lords Comprehensive Science Secondary School, Lokoja and Bright Star School, Idah.
Also registered are Muslim Community Secondary, School; Government Day Secondary School, Adankolo; Okaito/Usungwe Model College, Okehi and Glory Comprehensive College, Adavi, and Bassa Anglican Secondary School, Gboloko.
Others are Saint Augustine College Kabba, Saint Barnabas College Kabba, L.G. Comprehensive Secondary School Kabba, A.C.S.S. Isanlu, Oluyori Muslim Comprehensive High School, Isanlu; M.S.S Aiyetoro-Gbede, G.S.S Aiyetoro- Gbede and Glory Comprehensive Secondary School, Lokoja.
Aside trophies to be won by the winning teams, individual awards for the best goalkeeper, most valuable player and highest goal scorer will be given to players who distinguish themselves in various categories.