After two days of competitive football at the highest level, by children between the ages of 9-13, selected from various football academies in Lagos, Fortune Football Academy has emerged winners of the fourth edition of the Cohesion Football Tournament, an annual community tournament aimed at engaging talented grassroots children in the Surulere and Mushin local government area of Lagos state. The competition took place on December 15th and 16th 2022 at the Union Bank Stable, Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Cohesion Football Tournament is targeted at the development of pre-teens in underserved communities between the ages of 9-13. It is aimed at equipping them with the core values, knowledge and skills needed to realise their full potential as leaders of the next generation. It is also designed to productively engage and steer them away from crime, substance abuse and other social vices. The two-day competition had 16 teams from various parts of Lagos state competing for the ultimate prize through a knock-out system.
Nigerian Entertainer, Samuel Perry popularly known as ‘Broda Shaggi’ was present to kick off the tournament, and he charged the children to enjoy themselves and showcase their talent. ‘You can achieve anything you put your mind to, all you have to do is to continue working hard, believe in God, keep improving your skill every day and all your dreams will come true’. He said.
After two days of scintillating dribbling, outstanding skills, ferocious shots, world-class saves and a couple of intense penalty shootouts, Fortune Football Academy was crowned champions of the 2022 edition.
The winning team, Fortune Football Academy, walked home with the sum of N150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira), [Ablaze Football Academy] came second and won a sum of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira), in third place was [Ajibade Football Academy]who went home with the sum of N70,000 (Seventy Thousand Naira), and the tournament’s most valuable player [Tobiloba Ashimi] was rewarded with a sum of N100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira).
Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony during the grand finale, Damilare Obagbemi, Convener of the Cohesion Football Tournament, expressed his gratitude to all the partners and supporters of the initiative, while noting the impact the competition has had in the lives of pre-teens in Lagos since its inception.
“It has been four years of impacting lives and making December memorable for many children across Lagos. I’m very proud of the work the team has done so far to provide a platform for these children to showcase their skills. I am also pleased with the progress we have made over the years, every edition has been bigger and better than the previous one. Coincidentally, this year’s competition fell during the same period as the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and I am glad we’ve been able to show these children that in a couple of years through hard work, dedication and discipline, they can also make it to the peak of their careers in football or anything they set to achieve in life,” he said.
While presenting the trophy and prizes to the winning team and players, Adebola Williams, Chairman, AW Network, Founder RED For Africa said ‘’I am so proud of all of you. You have been given the skill of football. My advice to you is that you hold it with discipline, commitment and passion, and it will open doors for you. Keep working hard and the world will be your oyster’’
The 2022 edition of the Cohesion Football Tournament was proudly supported by Rite Foods, Dios Dlite, Olam, Nestle, Shuttlers, The Boys Brigade Aguda and Dano Milk.
Media partners included: Olorisupergal Media, TheCable Newspaper, Femi and The Gang, and Nigeria Info. The official medical partner for the two-day tournament was Sports Assist, Nigeria’s first sports medicine company dedicated to improving health outcomes in professional and recreational sports.