Since joining the Nigerian pay TV competitive market, StarTimes has never hidden its intention of where it is taking Nigeriaâ€™s sports to-the next level. It has not failed in achieving that. Two months ago it berthed with another of its many firsts-the FC Bayern Youth Cup Tournament.
Desirous of contributing to the development of sports and football in Nigeria StarTimes partnered VOE Foundation to host the FC Bayern Youth Cup tournament in Nigeria, the first time an African country is taking part in the competition.
The tournament saw the best 10 players selected to represent Team Nigeria and play at the world finals in Germany.
Sports Director of FC Bayern, Hasan Salihamidzic, said he was proud that Nigeria for the first time was part of the FC Bayern Youth Cup. â€œThe FC Bayern Youth Cup is a great platform for young players from all over the world to showcase their talent. The chance to win a trip to Munich and take part in a five-day training camp with FC Bayern is unique. The young players from Nigeria will meet FC Bayern 1st team players, visit the last Bundesliga match of the season and play the final tournament just one day after in the Allianz Arena.â€
The FC Bayern Youth Cup is an international 7v7 tournament series for U-16 teams representing different countries and has been hosted annually since 2012.
The competition has seen teams from Asia, Europe, North and South America. Team Nigeria will be the first African team to take part in the competition.
According to the Brand and Marketing Director at StarTimes, Mr Qasim Elegbede, the national qualifiers will take place in eight locations across Nigeria Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja.
â€œThe national qualifiers will officially commence onÂ January 13, in Abuja, we are working with VOE Foundation, the national event host and all is set for the competition to kick off onÂ January 13,â€ Elegbede had said.
Accordingly, the national finals of the FC Bayern Youth Cup tournament was held in Abuja and eight teams vie for honours at the Aduvie Academy, Jahi District, Abuja.
The teams were Ablaze FC (Lagos Island), FC Bethel (Lagos Mainland), Derby Academy (Jos), Early Start Academy (Enugu), All Stars (Port-Harcourt) Kano Stars (Kano), Sporting Dreams (Abuja), and Bityong Academy (Kaduna) having qualified to compete at the national final for a chance to represent Nigeria in Germany at the world champions competition of the Youth Cup.
Commenting on the development, Elegbede said, â€œWe are happy to have been able to impact the lives of over 300 young boys positively. Providing them a chance to showcase their talent has given them a boost and I am sure they will go ahead to excel in football.â€
He added, â€œStarTimes will continue working with these kids even after the world finals in Germany to ensure that their football passion takes them places.â€
Over 50 games and more than 150 goals were recorded with 320 players from across six states that took part in the competition.
Ablaze FC of Lagos eventually emerged as winners of the FC Bayern Youth Cup Tournament after a one nil victory over Sporting Dreams of Abuja in a fiercely contested final played at Aduvie international school in Abuja and witnessed a large turnout by participating teams and spectators alike who came out in their numbers to support the youngsters.
At the end of the competition, 10 players were selected from six teams to form the team that would represent Nigeria in the world finals in Munich, Germany in May.
Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes Nigeria, Justin Zhang, hailed the tenacity of the boys who defied the blazing heat of the day to battle for the top spot in the keenly contested competition. According to Zhang, â€œStarTimes is proud to be a part of the competition and it makes us pleased to be supporting the dreams and aspirations of these players to play international football.â€
Also speaking, the Country Director, VOE Foundation, Victor Edeh, commended all contesting teams in the competition noting that it had been a rewarding experience for the teams and it was now time to buckle down to face other winners from various parts of the world.
As part of activities to mark the climax of the Youth Cup Tournament,Â supporters and followers of FC Bayern and lovers of German football came out to see the Bundesliga trophy which was on display at the venue of the competition for the first time in Nigeria.
The next phase of the competition will be hosted in Germany in May, where teams from seven countries drawn from Asia, Europe, and America will converge on Bayern Muich to slug it out with one another.
StarTimes had earlier announced plans to entertain subscribers and followers of the Bundesliga with an open viewing of the trophy in Abuja.
â€œThe trophy was on display at Aduvie International School in Jahi District, Abuja fromÂ 11amÂ till aboutÂ 3pmÂ during which fans can take pictures, videos and interact with some FC Bayern legends who will be present at the event,â€ said Elegbede.
He added, â€œThis is the first time ever the trophy is coming to Nigeria and we are very much excited to be a part of it. Followership of the Bundesliga in Nigeria is improving and this activity is to further engage the fans, partners, sports journalists and every football lover to a nice football moment.â€
Meanwhile, as part of its commitment to broadcast sport contents to its growing number of subscribers, StarTimes brought the live coverage of the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup to the screen of football lovers.
The all-champions football tournament, currently in its 13th edition, is a FIFA- organised international club football tournament between champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champions from the host country. The tournament was hosted by Japan and beamed live on StarTimes sports channels including Sports Focus and World Football.
â€œWe are glad to offer the only world club tournament on an exclusive basis to our subscribers in Africa. We are very excited because this is a unique opportunity for football fans to see the best clubs from each continent, including Real Madrid, play one against another. The live telecast of these matches reflect the firm’s commitment to provide the best sporting action to its subscribers at a very affordable rate,â€ Elegbede said.
As part of its social responsibility, StarTimes has concluded plans at ensuring that some journalists get to see the World Cup live in Russia with all expense paid by the company.
StarTimes always places its focus on society.
To help every African family to afford digital TV, to watch digital TV, and to enjoy digital TV, StarTimes has established wireless digital TV platform in many African countries and will invest in mobile TV service platform and internet business platform in the near future.