Owerri - Imo State is agog now, since the inaugural edition of the Ysfon Mock Champions league, which began few days ago at the Township School, a five minutes walk from Dan Anyiam Stadium to Mbaise Road. It is non-stop celebrations of both old and retiring stars as well as revelations of some upcoming talents.
Just name those present: Nigeria's football ambassador, Nwankwo Kanu, Atlanta96 Gold medalist, Mobi Oparaku, former Eaglets 95 star, Chiedo 'Computa' Chukwueke and Ogbonna Kanu as well as 'the Little Messi,' Steve Opara were all there to grace the occasion. Then, Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha was the special guest of honor at the opening ceremony.
The tournament is even taking the shine off Heartland home games of Nigeria Professional Football League. Fans would rather troop to Owerri Township School and stay all day on Saturday and Sundays than go to Dan Anyiam Stadium to see their darling Heartland fc play.
Owerri Township school host flags of big European club sides such as Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea, PSG...and players put on replica Jerseys of these teams as they try to replicate what they saw on big screen TV over the years.
the Mock Champions league is organized by the Youth Sports Federations of Nigeria (YSFON). The President, Sunny Opara said that one of the primary objective of the tournament is to re-engage fans interest in a well packaged football tournament and to discover new talents from the region for future national assignments.
This Inaugural edition is sponsored by Cowbell food drink, a long time partner of Yfon.
"Owerri is a city that had developed great stars like Nwankwo Kanu, Mobi Oparaku, Lawerence Ukaegbu... And we can vividly recall the good old days when the then Iwuanyawu Nationale dominated Nigerian football. It was a team of stars, the who's who in Nigerian football then. So Owerri interacted so well this stars." Opara explained
"Our goal is to develop Youth soccer in Nigeria and to drive the passion for sports participation among youths of this present generation. And this innovation of replicating UEFA Champions league, a brand that's so popular with people, can sustain that interest."