NAFA picks 56 U-18 players for American football tourney in Ireland
The Nigeria America Football Association (NAFA) has listed 56 players (male and female) to fly Nigeria’s flag in an International Federation of American Football (IFAF) U-18 tournament holding in the Republic of Ireland next year.
The players, who are from various schools in Lagos, were picked after four days of screening involving 42 secondary schools that participated in the Lagos U-18 Flag Football Combined event.
Speaking in Lagos, yesterday, the president of Nigeria America Football Association (NAFA), Babajide Akeredolu, stated over the past two years, the association has strived to meet its mission to create opportunities for youths in the game of American football.
“We have continued to champion our HUDDLE way mantra, representing Health, Unity, Diversity, Development, Livelihood and Entertainment and today marks a great milestone for us as an organisation.
“We are excited to see our growth trajectory as one of the fastest growing sport entities in Nigeria. We are excited to announce the establishment of the first U-18 national team for Flag Football, which is being positioned to compete in future International Federation of American Football games.
“To achieve this, we had to engage a vibrant team of over 12 young American football enthusiasts all over Lagos to assist with assessing potential players.
During the screening, criteria such as speed, football acumen, agility, reaction and throw ability were leveraged to rank the players for us to come up with our elite squad,” Akeredolu stated.
According to him, “NAFA has experienced fast and steady growth due to the acceptability and strong embrace of American football in Nigeria. We have been very satisfied with the level of acceptance, and we have also ensure equal representation, inclusion and diversity.”
Also speaking, yesterday, Secretary General of NAFA, Lawrence Ojaideh, said that apart from the competition in Ireland in 2023, the association is also preparing for other events in Egypt and Finland next year.
He stated that 80 players, comprising 40 boys and 40 girls took part in the four-day screening exercise, where 28 male and 28 female players were selected.