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The ESLF Football Tournament 2022 to mark the 6th Anniversary of Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) has commenced with a press conference and formal announcement for male and female football teams of players between ages 14 and 18 in all 23 local government areas of Benue State to begin registration in sports offices of local government councils.

The press conference graced by two Super Eagles stars and Olympic medalists, Tijani Babangida and Emmanuel Babayaro, both ESLF Ambassadors, was also attended by one-time Benue-born soccer sensation, Moses Kpakor who joined the Eagles stars to commend ESLF for providing a golden door of opportunity for youths in the State to explore.

Addressing sports correspondents, Founder of ESLF and First Lady of Benue State, Dr. Eunice Ortom said the football tournament was inspired by the passion to cater for the interests of young ones across the State, which she noted remain at the core of ESLF’s vision.

Dr. Ortom who noted that the insecurity ravaging the society would reduce drastically should youths be creatively engaged in activities that capture their interests, called for partnership to support such youth-centred initiative.

She thanked partners of ESLF, as well as everyone who had contributed their chapter to the ESLF success story and expressed hope that the forthcoming tournament would expose, not only the talents of young boys and girls, but also create the chance for such talents to be well harnessed and nurtured to fruition.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (L.O.C) for the Football tourney, Mr. Emmanuel Tama Aondofar, said such a competition exposes young persons to a world of opportunities which ex-football professionals like Emmanuel Babayaro, Tijani Babangida, Moses Kpakor and himself who had benefited from similar opportunities in times past could testify.

Former Super Eagles player, Tijani Babangida on his part, pointed out that some ex-professionals, himself included and a number of others would have their boots on ground during the tournament to scout for raw football talents to be nurtured when found and he thanked ESLF for offering youths such chance of a lifetime.

Lending his voice, another ex-international, Emmanuel Babayaro, who described himself as “a proud ESLF Ambassador”, noted that although ESLF had recorded several humanitarian milestones, it chose to remain modest in touting them.

Babayaro said the forthcoming tournament was not a mere perfunctory exercise to mark a birthday, but true to the Foundation’s name, even in the euphoria of such celebration, was still providing that “spring of life” for many persons, noting that, the compassionate gesture prominently stands ESLF out in an assemblage of NGOs in Nigeria.

The former Olympian, noted with delight, the deliberate move by ESLF to include two teams from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps which form a vulnerable section of the Benue community. This considerate gesture, geared towards “leaving no one behind”, was in his assessment, the first of such inclusive move by any NGO in the country.

The soccer mentor added that the chance given to hundreds of youngsters across the state would have a positive multiplier effect on their families and gave kudos to ESLF for giving them not only the chance to play the round leather game, but also complementing that effort with special mentorship sessions to give the young ones the right orientation that would help steer them in the right direction in life.

He hailed the chance the tournament would give local coaches from all nook and cranny of the State for further training to ensure sustainability of the tournament and called on media houses to help trumpet ESLF’s strategic impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people.

On his part, former soccer sensation, Moses Kpakor who observed that ESLF had gone back to the drawing board by the deft move to nurture budding soccer talents, described ESLF Football Tournament 2022 as “a project that began like a dream but has become a reality, giving young ones the chance just as he himself had at age 17 many years ago”.

Registration for the ESLF Football tournament which commenced on Friday 8th April, 2022 will end April 22nd and the actual kick-off will be on April 25th 2022.

Teams of young players, between 14 and 18, are expected to participate by registering first at the Sports offices of their various local government councils between now and April 22nd, 2022 ahead of the kick-off date of April 25th, 2022 when the soccer excitement will fully begin on the pitch of play!






Emmanuel Enenche Umele


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