OKOYE FOUNDATION, RIVERS BEGIN MOVES FOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
THE Amobi Okoye Foundation, set up by a Nigerian who plays defence for Chicago Bears in the American Football League (AFL), has signed an agreement with the Rivers State Ministry of Sports to start a Nigerian American Football League (NAFL) in the country.
Speaking in Port Harcourt during a media briefing on the partnership with Rivers State, Chairman of the foundation, Amobi Okoye, said he was determined to help Nigerian youths to channel their energy into productive ventures hence the plan for NAFL.
According to Okoye, the foundation was initiated to pass across virtues and values the AFL has imparted into his life, adding: 'My passion has always been to work with children and AFL has the capacity to positively develop the minds of player to be positive, team spirited and focused in the society.'
He emphasized that Nigeria is the second largest nationality being recruited and playing AFL in the United States, disclosing that introducing the sports in Rivers State would give a wider opportunity for youths to be recruited and at the long run begin competition with other nations.
According to him, one of the foundation's foci is to make AFL the second most popular game in the continent in the next 25 years. Earlier in his address, the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Fred Igwe, said the state government decided to partner the Changing Africa Through Education (CATE) to introduce the AFL and guarantee that attention was given to other sports apart from football.
He noted that football was popular because it was introduced by the colonial government and every school had a soccer field to encourage children to start playing soccer at an early age.
Igwe said the government would encourage the growth of NAFL in the state by providing the necessary logistics for its participation, adding: 'Sports is an unambiguous way to redirect and re-orient the youths to be positive and productive in the society. To focus energy and take young people off the street, the easiest means is sports.'