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Five Nigerian kids win AFCON player escort spots


PHOTO: Brand Spur

Five Nigerian children between the ages of six and 10 have won the opportunity to be player escorts at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The selected escorts will lead some of Africa’s best football players onto the pitch during a quarterfinal match slated for Thursday, July 11.

The children, Basil Okpara, nine years; Ibrahim Tijani, nine years; Osidele Mayowa, 1years; Adebayo Oluwaseun, nine years; and Olubowale Oluwaferanmi 10 years alongside a parent or guardian, will embark on a three-day trip to Cairo, Egypt courtesy of Visa, a digital payment platform and official sponsor of the tournament.


Three of the children were identified through #VisaUnstoppableStories campaign for AFCON, which called upon children from Nigeria to share their stories and inspirations of what makes them or their heroes unstoppable. The other two were selected at the finals of the Channels International Kids Cup held in Lagos.

Country Manager and Vice President, Visa West Africa, Kemi Okusanya, said: “Congratulations to the lucky winners who will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in the Player Escort Programme at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations.

“For a young footfall fan, it is an unforgettable experience to escort a world-famous player onto the pitch in front of millions of spectators. The entries we have received for the Unstoppable Stories campaign have shown us the scale of talent, passion and determination that Nigerian children possess. We are thrilled to be able to offer this experience and witness the happiness and joy that the campaign has brought to the winning children. We wish them the best of luck in Cairo.”

Okpara, a young serial game developer and one of the winners from the digital campaign, spoke of his excitement after being chosen as an escort. He said, “Walking into the stadium, hand in hand with one of my football heroes, is a dream come true and I’d like to thank Visa for making it happen.”

Through Visa’s sponsorship of the player escort programme for the tournament, more than 1,100 children from around the world will be given the opportunity to lead out their football heroes as they take to the field during the football competition.

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