1 The Nigeria American Football Association (NAFA) expressed his determination to develop young people through play to participate in international competitions.
2 Mr. Babajide Akeredolu, President of NAFA expressed commitment at a press conference to unveil the U-18 national teams in Lagos.
3 The Nigeria News Agency reports that the teams are made up of secondary school students.
4 He said that over the past two years, NAFA has worked to fulfill its mission of creating more opportunities through American football.
5 “We continued to defend our HUDDLE way mantra representing health, unity, diversity, development, livelihood and entertainment.
6 “Today marks an important milestone for us as an organization as we are excited to see our growth trajectory as one of the fastest growing sports entities.
seven “We are delighted to announce the creation of the first National Under-18 teams for ‘Flag Football’ which is positioned to compete in future international championships,” he said.
8 Akeredolu said that to achieve its goal, NAFA has hired more than 12 young American football enthusiasts from across Lagos to help screen potential players.
9 According to him, criteria such as speed, football acumen, agility, reaction and throwing ability were used to rank players to build an elite squad.
ten “This is just the beginning of the process as training and capacity building will be undertaken to prepare boys and girls for the international stage.
11 “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our facilitators for a job well done throughout the process and we look forward to working with them.
12 “NAFA has grown rapidly and steadily due to the acceptability and strong following of American football in Nigeria.
13 “We were very pleased with the level of acceptance, we also ensured equal representation, inclusion and diversity,” he said.
14 Akeredolu further said that the association is happy to bring Nigeria into the multi-billion dollar industry.
15 He said Nigeria has the highest number of players of African descent in the American Football League.
16 According to him, the number is 10 times that of any other nation in the world except the Americans who own the league.
17 “The pathways to growth and participation in sport are great and we have targeted commitments to engage young people and create more opportunities for them.
18 “We are also proud to say that in these few years we have already seen lives transformed through the sport.
19 “If we can achieve so much in such a short time, then we see potential to revolutionize the sports industry in Nigeria and Africa in general,” he said.
20 NOPE reports that the players for the U-18 national team were selected after training, which attracted no less than 90 students from various schools in the state.
21 At the end of the exercise, which took place from September 14 to 16, 28 male players and 28 female players were selected to make the final cut.
22 The U-18 team will face Nigeria in the next international tournament organized by the International Federation of American Football (IFAF)
NAFA said that in the future it plans to bring eight more states into the second season of the Nigerian Secondary Schools Flag Football League,
This will give the best players the opportunity to try out the U-18s at the next camp.