For displaying exceptional skills coupled with his off-the-field conduct during the 5th annual Kanu/Greensprings Football Camp, 10 year-old Yusuf Afolabi has been awarded scholarship by the management of Greensprings School in Lagos.
This gesture is part of the school’s usual act to reward outstanding participants at the annual football camp.
The primary six pupil of the Lagos Island-based Anwarul Islam Primary School emerged the best player in the camp and the scholarship will give me the opportunity to study in one of the best schools in Nigeria as well as hone his skills in football.
Afolabi who is a product of the Eko Football initiative, which advocates combining football with education, thrilled the coaches at the camp with his uncanny skills and understanding of the game.
With this, Afolabi became the sixth beneficiary of the scholarship that is awarded yearly by the management of the Greensprings School.
Speaking at the gala night to climax the end of the one-week camp, Executive Director of Greensprings School, Mrs Lai Koiki said essence of the annual is to help the youth developed and bring out the best in them.
“The camp another way Greensprings is impacting children from other schools. Our purposes for the camp is to get young people engaged, to develop their football skills further because we realize that the future of football in Nigeria depends on the young children as well as to catch them young. We want to continue the Greensprings’ commitment in helping to mould the character of young Nigerians to become mature and well-rounded adults ready to face the challenges of tomorrow’s ever changing world. Sports generally and football in particular instils in them lessons and skills that are essential in life. It provides opportunity for young impressionable youth to learn values like discipline, team work and help them to concentrate because they need to be focused and be self-confidence,” Koiki said.
She added: “All the awardees have always been from public schools. All I want to say is that we are blessed to be a blessing and what we are doing is to ensure that whatever it is that God has entrusted into our hands, we are reaching out to empower other people, to empower families and to develop children for the future. At times when you think that you are doing something for someone else, you are actually doing it for yourself and in reality, it is our future that we are protecting by ensuring that this children are well taken care of”.
Dotun Coker, a member of the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), who represented the chairman, Oluseyi Akinwunmi commended the management of Greensprings school for helping the state and country at large.
His words: “In the evaluation that we have done, we found out that the impact of what Greensprings have been doing with our trainers and we have seen the coaches returning to their various schools and academies, trained those youth and they have impacted on the skills of the students. We will remain grateful to the management of the school for keeping faith with the camp despite the economic challenges across the country. I hope and believe that these children will become stars like Kanu Nwankwo and Jay Jay Okocha and Greensprings will always be in their mind.”
Among the products of the camp who are now member of the National U-13 team are Musa Ali and Elvis Onyese. Over 138 participants drawn from schools across the country took part in the week-long coaching clinic meant for children between ages 5 and 17. The exercise was handled by foreign coaches and instructors from England and the Netherlands with support from their Nigerian counterparts.