Lagos — The National Football League (NFL) Nigerian-born stars who have been on tour of Nigeria have expressed their excitement at been back in the country of their birth, if even it is for a short period of time. The team had touched down in the country from their flight from the United States, via the Nnamdi
Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Saturday to start a one-week ‘giving back to the community’ work, which is hoped would be of immense benefit to the youths of the country.
The ADCI/NFL team, which include Houston Texan’ jewel Amobi Okoye, the duo of Chicago Bears’ Adewale Ogunleye and Israel Idonije, Kasia Muoto (president/founder of ‘We Play to Win’) among others, kick-started their activities in the country a day after arrival.
According to players, and ADCI tour co-ordinator, Okey Chidume, their mission to Nigeria is to give back to their community and in so doing, help to alleviate poverty among the citizenry.
“The motivating force is the need to come back and give something to the community. We feel an obligation as Nigerians and human being to give back to the community and provide opportunity for the youths. We know what the situation was when we left; so we always ask ourselves what type of home would we be coming back to,” says Chidume.
First on their agenda was a physical activity camp and youth enhancement programme. On Monday they had an offer of free medical care to the public, while on Tuesday they launched the ADCI Academy of Learning and Sports, awarded scholarships and donation of kits to tennis.
It was a second homecoming for the Anambra State born Okoye and he was relishing every moment. He said of the time he has already spent in the country as very emotionally gratifying for him. “I am so excited. It is the same way I felt when I came for the first time. I’m sure it will always be a pleasure coming home. It is like I always manage to have good fun while doing social work here. It is always good to give back to the community.”
Ogunleye summed up his excitement this way: “I’m just too happy to come back home. Just being here is like having a good time; and then, I’m doing something I had always love to do for the society, giving back.”
As for Kasia, she said: “It is almost eighteen years since I left home playing soccer, so it is a pleasure, I am excited and still feel connected. I am here to do something positive, show hope in the future and tell the youths that they are not forgotten. This is a kind of homecoming celebration for me.”
The team came in to Lagos from Abuja yesterday to begin the second part of the voyage to Nigeria. In Lagos, they have a three-day medical clinic to conduct at the Nigeria Police Clinic in Falomo. They will also carry out a physical activity camp with the students of British and American International Schools, respectively.
They will be leaving for the US on Sunday