Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (l), having a handshake with former Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Christian Chukwu, while ex-international, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha (r) and others watch
Former Super Eagles Captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha Wednesday at the kick-off of the Delta Governor’s Cup for Secondary Schools Football Competition admitted that the game gave him all he has attained in life to date.
"I'm a living testimony to what you can achieve through football. I may not be as educated as Davidson Owumi but as far as football is concerned I'm a professor. You have to do your best in combining football and education. With determination you will go places," the former Bolton Wanderers playmaker counselled the hundreds of students who watched the opening match of the Delta Governor’s Cup at the St. Patrick’s College in Asaba Wednesday.
A deafening ovation greeted Okocha’s confession shortly before Comprehensive Secondary School and Adaigbo Secondary School both of Ogwashi-Uku played the opening game.
Earlier, Owumi had similarly urged the students to ensure that they combine their education with their sports careers.
He told the students that he studied Political Science at the University of Benin and sees himself as one of the best sports administrators in Nigeria after playing several years of active career for the national team and top clubs in the country.
He reminded the student-footballers that he started as a player in secondary school and urged them to "grab this opportunity Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has created to help them develop a career in football."
Former captain and coach of the Eagles, Christian Chukwu, also shared his experience with the students. He urged them to be disciplined in all they do and that they are disciplined, limitless opportunities await them.
Governor Uduaghan who is reviving sports in schools and local communities, assured the students that the state government would assist the stars of the competition achieve "the highest level in football career." It was a challenge one of the players said they would take up seriously.
The governor recalled his days in Government College Warri and the passion of their principal in sports then. He also reminded the school principals present at the kick off of the competition that the success or otherwise of the competition rests largely on them.
"Our principal was Mr. Davies, an expatriate who made sure we had mosquito team (junior team) and the senior team in all sports. He watched training sessions of these teams and made sure sports thrived in our school.
Executive Chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, announced that he would sponsor his alma mater, Hussey College, in the competition.
Comprehensive School defeated Adaigbo 3-0 in an entertaining match that Felix Oseme scored a brace and was selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the encounter. He scored from a brilliant free kick in the first and a superb penalty in the second half.
"If I had my way, I would sign him on in any junior team of a club right away," Owumi said glowingly of Oseme’s skill. Nonso Okolo scored the third goal to give Comprehensive School a perfect start in the competition.