For the past six years, 2013 to be precise, traders in the Aba have had a past time with the annual MTN Aba Traders Cup; a program that is designed to identify football talents amongst the traders and bring them to lime light.
As it stands till date, the championship is recorded as the highest football meet in Abia State as traders, markets, market zones, market associations, market lines etc struggle for supremacy annually after which the selected players are moved to senior football clubs across the country.
In the words of Comrade George Obioma, co-ordinator of the MTN Aba Traders Cup and Zonal Sports Organising Secretary of the Abia State Sports Council, the championship, which has continually attracted other markets in the state, has given rise to some players who have made their mark in the Nigeria Premier Football League.
He recalled that during the opening ceremony of the 2017 edition, the Abia State Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, while declaring the competition open, sincerely thanked MTN Nigeria for their interest in developing football in Aba Zone through the annual MTN Aba Traders Cup and pleaded with them to keep the flag flying as huge progress recorded in the programme speaks volume.
“The maiden edition in 2013 recorded 16 markets, the 2014 edition also had 16 markets, 2015 event had 16 markets, while the 2016 competition recorded a total of 48 markets. However, the 2017 edition saw an increase of 44 markets participating while the 2018 event had an additional 27 markets to the 44 in contention. “It’s noteworthy to mention that in 2013 Ahia Ohuru Line 4 won the trophy while Cosmetics Line Ariaria Internaional Market Aba came 2nd. In 2014 Canopy Dealers Association Osisiomangwa Junction defeated Iheorji Market Traders Association Aba to win the trophy while Shoe and Fancy Line Ariaria Int’I Market came third.
The 2015 edition saw Asannentu Motor Spare Parts Market Alaoji defeat Eziukwu Market Zone 12 to clinch the trophy. 2016 had Lagos Line Market, Faulks Road Aba North LGA defeat Ahia Ohuru Line 4 to win the trophy, while Iheorji Market Traders Association came third and Waterside Butchers Ogborhill Aba finished fourth.
The 2017 edition had Iheorji Market Traders Association finishing in first place, while Lagos Line Market Faulks Road finished second.
Last year, the two strongest markets again came back with Lagos Line finishing in first position and Iheorji Market Traders in second second place.”