Head of Operations, Nigerian American Football Association, Lawrence Ojaide has expressed his excitement at the massive turnout of athletes and fans to the just concluded NAFA’s qualifiers held among 22 secondary schools in Lagos.
He revealed that the success of the qualifiers is just a tip of the iceberg when NAFA’s flag football league commences in the first quarter of next year.
Ojaide noted that the major aim of the qualifiers and the league that will eventual debut in 2022 is to ensure that children remain in schools and that they have their minds focused on positive things.
He explained that scholarships will be given to some of the most outstanding players among other awesome gifts to be given to the winner of the league and the rest in the top four.
“What we saw happen within the week was a qualifier. What we are trying to do is to bring in American Football the flag side of it to Nigerian schools,” Ojaide told the NAFA Qualifiers Media.
“The plan is to have Nigerian secondary schools flag football league start within the first quarter of 2022 and for us to have teams playing at the semi-professional level, they need to show some sense of competition and that is the reason for the qualifiers that we just concluded in Lagos.
“All these happened so that we have strong teams on the league. Today marked the finals. After then, teams were outstanding and schools were awesome and the Lagos state Sports Commission, the district officers for the education districts since it is a school project to start with were very outstanding.
“Even the Lagos State University pitch that was used today for the final made a lot of sense to the kids. It showed they could play at higher platforms on bigger stadiums and bigger pitches and also get to have more fans come out to watch their games in the future.
“It is an initiative to use this sport to make kids remain in schools and also make their minds diverted from things that can endanger their lives. It is just to make them more responsible. With the economy of Nigeria we are using it as a point to boost the economy. When the league proper starts, we want to see people from all over the world come to watch our kids play here in Nigeria and also scout for talents.
“It is a sport with so much scholarship opportunities. This is the time to see if we can help Nigerian children to have scholarship opportunities both locally and internationally. We have seen partners within the week that have come to see the kids in terms of academic partnerships to be able to offer scholarships even at this level that we are. It means that there is so much opportunities for what we are about to see happen where the bigger picture will commence in 2022.
“It has been a massive turnout as we speak because even during their practice times, you would see all the students from their classes trying to catch a glimpse of it. We have trained 40 players from each school.
“We had 22 schools playing on this league and we trained both males and females. This is just a per cent of what you are to witness In 2022 as the league starts. You can expect teams trying to spring themselves up to speed to be able to win the league because if you win the league as a team, there is so much benefit. The first, second and third runners up in the league too will get so much as a form of rewards. You will see also getting their scholarships right there up to their university level to further their education,” he concluded.