Chief Afe Babalola
By Tunde Sanni
Legal icon and educationist, Afe Babalola, has urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), to give the victorious Super Eagles’ Coach, Stephen Keshi, a free hand and support to concentrate more on home-grown players.
The sports philanthropist who spoke with sportswriters when he redeemed the N .6 million pledge he made to a grassroots team that was named after him in his home town, Ado-Ekiti, advised the NFF to rid itself of unnecessary greed and back Keshi who had recorded a landmark achievement that had been eluding Nigeria in the past 19 years.
“God has endowed our country with abundant soccer talents locally that are capable of sustaining us as a world power in the game if well harnessed,” observed the educationist at the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.
“I have faith and strong belief in Nigerian youths, if we desire to dominate soccer scene for a long time globally, then we must look inward and fashion a programme that will aid our football development at the grassroots,” he noted.
He expressed his desire to see Nigeria Super Eagles consolidate on the present feat recorded in South Africa where they won the 29th edition of Africa Cup of Nation by strengthen the team ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup where Keshi and his wards will represent Africa as champions.
The Ekiti high chief in the past donated cash to Shooting Stars Sports Club, (3SC) as well as sponsored a female team, (NITO) in Nigeria Women League for many years.
He however, pledged his continued support to Afe Babalola Babes who were assembled within Ekiti and environs and have won all matches played even against professional teams, saying “one cannot but to encourage you by registering this team in Nigerian League where you would have opportunity of competing regularly to improve their skills.”