There is a high level of excitement and infectious ecstasy as the fourth edition of the Seyi Akinwunmi Charity Mini-Tournament comes to a climax at the Lagos Campos Mini-Stadium friday.
Sponsored by the 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Seyi Akinwunmi, the show-stopping event has over the years attracted leading administrators, top-drawer artistes and ex-international footballers to the finale, while a number of promising talents have been unearthed during the youth competition.
The competitionâ€™s main objective is provision of scholarships for smart but indigent children and support for ailing ex-international players.
Over 200 children have been supported through the Courage Education Foundation, which has chosen the game of football to bring people together and raise funds for the Foundationâ€™s goals.
Thorough, deliberate and averse to doing things in half measures, Akinwunmi, who has been Chairman of Lagos State Football Association for more than six years now, has driven the mini-tournament and the Foundation with a touch of class, charisma and consistency.
A well-thought partnership with Greensprings International School, Lagos has provided the perfect station for star discoveries to combine first-education with sport, which ultimately makes for a better athlete.
This year, Musa Alli and Elvis Onyenze, who have shone for Nigeriaâ€™s Under-15 squad and look good enough to be considered for the next Nigeria Under-17 squad, graduated from Greensprings International School.
â€œOur goal is to provide the perfect platform for the gifted but indigent child to fulfil his dream, through combining good education with a career in sport. Alli and Onyenze are examples of what we set out to do and they are still going strong, but there are many more on the way.
â€œThe finale which we hold at the Campos Mini-Stadium is a spectacle for both good youth football and fun, with administrators and ex-internationals taking part in the novelty game. Here, we raise funds for the goals of the Foundation,â€ Akinwunmi observed yesterday.
This year, NFF President Amaju Pinnick is leading a team of Pinnick and Friends against Family United By Sports, with names like Festus Keyamo (SAN), Ayodeji Tinubu (SA to Lagos State Governor on Sports), Olusegun Odegbami (former Nigeria captain), Taiwo Ogunjobi (former Nigeria international and former NFF GS and Executive Committee Member), Chris Green (ranking member of NFF Executive Committee) and Imama Amapakabo (NPFL title-winning coach with Enugu Rangers last year) already signed up for FUBS.
FUBS will be coached by Nduka Ugbade who captained Nigeriaâ€™s first cadet team to win the FIFA Under-16 World Cup and was an assistant coach when the Under-17 team won it for the fourth time in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.
Popular stand-up comedian Gbenga Adeyinka will be referee of the match.
â€œThe truth is that talents abound in the nooks and crannies of our country. They are waiting to be discovered and nurtured. Most are from poor homes and need support to climb that ladder to get close to their dreams.
â€œI want to really appreciate Greensprings International School for the hand of partnership they have lent to the Foundation. Together, we believe we can take this project very far and in a way that would be great for Nigerian Football development,â€ Akinwunmi added.