Sports

SPORTS PERSONALITY: ‘ITFA has  made stars of many Kwara players’

 

Joseph Igiri is the Chairman Igbo Traders Football Association. In
this interview with MIKE ADEYEMI, he speaks about how the association
has impacted sports development in the state as well as how ITFA has
raised many Kwara born players into stardom. Exercpts:
What informed Igbo Traders Football Association?
The main objective of ITFA is to unite all Igbo communities in Kwara
State through sports and also have a sense of belonging with our host,
Kwarans.
For how long as ITFA been promoting sports in Kwara State?
The association has been in place in Kwara State since 1987 with the
sole mandate to foster mutual co-habitation with the good people of
Kwara State via sports.
The competition is a yearly event where Igbo residents across the
state be it those in Amilengbe, Taiwo-Isale, Oja-Oba, Offa Garage,
Saw-mail are brought together in sporting tournament.
How is the competition being sponsored?
Just like I said, the sponsors are diverse. This year’s competition is
being sponsored by the Pillar of Sports, Chief Donatus Agu Ejidike.
The prizes range from N50,000 to N100,000.
What has been the challenges militating ITFA in Kwara?
The challenges has been that in order to get our people acquainted
with the competition, we had to put the tournament for sunday owing to
the business nature of our people.
Sunday is about the only day of the week that our people can spare for
other activities aside their primary duties.
So this constituted some level of restrain for the association.
Has the competition since inception raised any players to stardom in the state?
Yes. Igbo traders football competition has produced lots of stars
playing in various clubs overseas.
The likes of Charles Agu, Dele Ayenugba and others are products of
ITFA. Also the current secretary of Nigerian Association of club
owners, Alloy Chukwuemeka was once the secretary of Igbo Traders
Football Association.
Is there any synergy between ITFA and Kwara State Government?
Yes. I remember during the time of Sha’aba Lafiagi as a governor, he
used to come and identify with us. Ditto with many past commissioners
who have shown their supports with the association.
When Zakari Mohammed was commissioner, he used to be part of us. We
have written to the present government through the Director of Sports
to be part of this year’s event, because that is the only channel
through  which we can communicate to the Kwara State Government.
What is the prospects for ITFA in Kwara?
No doubt, the association has been able to achieve the purpose for
which it was established. The competitions has raised many youths who
would have gotten  themselves engaged in nefarious activities off the
street.
The competition has actually posed a bridge of togetherness among the
Igbos in Kwara as we all know that football globally is a unifying
force.
So, the association will go places in the nearest future. The
prospects is good for the association.
How would you rate the support of Kwarans towards  ITFA since inception?
Kwara indigenes are peace loving loving people and they have given the
association maximum cooperation and supports it deserves.
Kwara is also a soccer loving State and Igbos in the state have been
well hosted.
Aside football, what other services is the association engaged in?
Yes, we have other programmes in Kwara where we give scholarship and
assistance to students. Some of us also engage in politics and other
areas towards contributing to the development of humanity.

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