By Chigozie Chukwuleta
Technical Manager of Nigeria champions, Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, Technical has said that the annual Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Preseason Tournament has come to stay.
“Tico/Select Preseason Tournament has come to stay”, Eguma declared after he was unveiled Monday in Port Harcourt.
Eguma was unveiled as Technical Coordinator of the 2022 edition of the tournament billed to get underway in Enugu and Asaba on October 20 through October 30.
Rivers United have remained regular participants in the tournament, having taken part in the maiden edition in Enugu, the second edition in Asaba and the third in Owerri.
“Since we (Rivers Utd) started taking part in this Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Preseason Tournament, we’ve always done well in the (NPFL) league”, the 2004 CAF Champions League winning coach with Enyimba starts.
“This is because its been helping to blend well before the season starts.
“It helps us knock our newly recruited players and our old ones into shape and use the opportunity of the Tico/Select tournament which top NPFL sides always take part in, to see the players in tough match situation.
“It also gives the players real match fitness they required to start the new NPFL season”.
The former U23 Natiinal team Assistant Coach went on to heap plaudits on the initiator and organisers of the tournament for,a job weldone.
“Tico/Select Preseason Tournament has come to stay.
“Having participated in all three previous editions of the tournament, I would want to thank the initiator of the tournament, Ifeanyi Ekwueme, a former Nigeria international, that he’s done so well.
“Being the brain behind the tournament, I want to congratulate him.
“I also want to let him know that the seed he planted following the introduction of this tournament, has started bearing fruits.
“Many trams have started benefitting from the tournament. So, I would want other clubs in the country to key in and reap from where we, Rivers United, have reaped from.
“That we are league (NPFL) champions today, I would give Tico/Select Preseason Tournament a significant credit because they helped in preparing the team towards our emergence as NPFL Champions”.
Eguma would go on to charge the organisers not to lower the ante in their efforts to ensure that the tournament becomes a global event listed in the FIFA calendar.
“I would want to urge the organisers not to relent in their efforts in ensuring the sustainability of the Tico/Select Preseason Tournament such that it becomes a global tournament recognised by FIFA”, the one time Gabros International FC, Nnewi, gaffer charged.
Aside being Technical Manager of the NPFL title holders, Rivers Utd, Eguma is also Twchnical Coordinator of the tournament, for which he was unveiled in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Accepting the Technical role of the tournament, Eguma promised that his best is yet to come.
“In my capacity as the Technical Coordinator of the tournament, I would say that in conjunction with my crew members, we’ve done well in previous editions.
“I’ve done well especially in the area of strategising the competition technically.
“All the past editions had been hitch-free and I believe that this year’s edition will equally be hitch-free, successful and even much better technically.
“We would continue to partner with Ifeanyi Ekwueme Tico/Select Preseason Tournament to ensure that it becomes a world-wide tournament recognised by FIFA”, Eguma stressed.l