–         Pledges support 

As part of preparations for the planned Sam Okwaraji Under 16 Tournament for all Nigeria Secondary Schools, the Steering Committee and the Imo State Football Association paid a visit to the President-General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu to seek his support for the tournament.

This is even as they used the visit to confer on Chief Iwuanyanwu the Grand Patronship of the tournament.

In his speech while receiving the delegation in his office, the Ndigbo Helmsman expressed deep appreciation to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, for deeming it worthy to approve the tournament, describing the late footballer, Okwaraji as a young man who gave his all to the service of his country within the short period he featured as a Super Eagles player.

Chief Iwuanyanwu who assumed the leadership of the Apex Igbo Socio-Cultural organization last year noted that honoring the late footballer at that level would spur today’s youths to exhibit high level of patriotism in service to the country.

The business mogul assured that the Ohaneze Ndigbo would reach out to all the governors of the South East including other stakeholders with a view to shoring up support for the tournament.

He described football as a serious uniting factor in the country, as well as a lucrative sport that empowers the youths, adding that Nigeria would benefit from the tournament at this time.

Earlier in his address, the leader of the delegation and Ex-Super Eagles Captain; Henry Nwosu informed Chief Iwuanyanwu that the delegation considered his huge investments in Nigeria and African Football before embarking on the visit, noting that the history of Nigerian Football would not be complete without mentioning his name.

Nwosu further stated that Chief Iwuanyanwu’s position as Ohaneze President-General remained strategic to mobilizing critical stakeholders in the South East and other geo-political zones of Nigeria. The former Super Eagles midfielder said the committee was also working to mobilize support from the other zones of country, and expressed optimism that Ohaneze Nidgbo remained a veritable platform for actualizing that objective.

In his own contribution, the Imo State Football Association Chairman, Barr. Ifeanyi Dike, represented by Mr. Charlse Nnadi (TIGANA) board member and Mr. Godfrey Ndudi, Secretary, said the association would appreciate the support of Imo State Government in hosting the tournament in Imo because of what they described as the socio-economic benefits that would accrue to state, with 36 state football teams expected to participate.

The President of the Samuel Okwaraji Foundation; Mr. Patrick OKwaraji, who was ably represented by the Secretary; Achonwa Chidozie commended Chief Iwuanyanwu for all he has done for football in Nigeria.

Other members of the delegation include; Inegbu Okey Jonas, Ndubueze Henry among others.

The highpoint of the visit was the installation of Chief Iwuanyanwu as the Grand Patron of the tournament.

It would be recalled that Imo-born Samuel Okwaraji slumped and died during a World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola on 12th August, 1989 at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. He was twenty five years old.