By Danusa Ocholi
A former President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) , Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdulahi ,has stated that his mission is to produce the best footballers for the country through his pet project, FOSLA Academy.
Alhaji Lulu stated this while addressing parents, coaches, and students who participated in the final screening and signing of scholarship agreement with eight students/players from FCT in the school over the weekend. The Academy had earlier carried out similar exercise in Kogi State last week, where same number of students were awarded scholarship.The former NFF boss said that although running FOSLA Academy was quite challenging at the beginning, he nevertheless noted that he was satisfied with what the school has achieved within the eight years of its establishment.
He said:”We don’t have resources to manage the school but we can manage the little we have to achieve the best results possible. Our project appears difficult before man but before God, it is very easy. I have faith in God to see me through this endeavour.
“When I started this project, people discouraged me and asked me how I could get a sponsor and fund to run it. It was difficult in the beginning but when I reflect at what we have achieved so far, I have every reason to say I am absolutely happy.”
He added: “For the past three years, FOSLA Academy has consistently set standards in football competitions. We are the current champions of FCT Principals Cup . We need the cooperation of all and sundry to succeed and we cannot succeed in our mission if the staff are not committed and the students not willing to learn.
“I don’t need anybody in this country to recognise me. I am doing this work because it is my calling and only God can reward me.
“My primary partners are the coaches. My dream is not to send players to Europe, my primary dream is to produce players to be the best in the country. If a player is not the best in the country, he or she cannot succeed abroad.
“In our first Shell Cup tournament, my players were paid N45, 000 each by Shell but I did not keep the money. I sent it to their parents.
“European countries and scouts have approached me severally to send my players to them but when I asked them about the continued education of the players, they told me that after two or three years with them, they would continue their education. But I said no, it cannot be. Their education is key at this point. We need to develop them. In Fosla, my dream is simple, education is number one; football is second because any child who is intelligent can play good football.
“The parents should challenge us to do better. We want to collectively develop the children and when that is done, the benefit will be to Nigeria.
“We went through pains and challenges when we started but I am happy at where we are now, however I believe where we are going is greater,” he said.
Thirteen students along with their parents and coaches drawn from the six area councils in the FCT including Karshi the host community, took part in the last screen/endorsement held on Friday, July 13.
A total of eight students aged 13 and below from FCT who scaled the last screening , were offered admission to study in the academy starting from the new 2018/2019 academic session in September. The students offered admission and their area councils include;Bamaiyi Innocent (Abaji), Shedrack Gabriel (AMAC), Linus Hope (Gwagwalada), Kasimu Usman (Karshi) and Khadijat Zakari, (Bwari).Others are Folorusho Fumilayo (Gwagwalada), Faith Nwachukwu (Bwari) and Ezekiel Kingsley (AMAC) whose scholarship will be rectified on Monday. Among the 8 successful students, were three females.
The Secretary of FOSLA Academy Board Patrick Ngwaogu said the story of the Academy was one to cherish.
“In 2016, we played at the finals of the NNPC /Shell All Secondary school football competition, where we lost to Rivers State. We have won the FCT Principals Cup since inception in 2015 to 2017. In 2017, the Academy played up to the zonal finals of Shell Cup 2017 in Katsina, despite all the injustice that were melted out to her. We are the state and zonal champions of both the Copa Coca Cola and Etisalat U-15 competition. The Academy played up to the Semi finals in the Copa Coca Cola in 2016, and won a bronze medal. One of our student, Ojukwu Chidera emerged as the highest goal scorer. He scored 14 goals. We played in the finals of Etisalat U. 15 in 2016. Ojukwu Chidera won the highest goal scorer with 20 goals.
“In 2017, we finished 4th in Copa Coca Cola U. 15. But, Kumate Shina won best player, Moses Aluko best goalkeeper and Hakeem Habeeb second highest scorer of the tournament. Moses Aluko was immediately called to the National U. 15 camp where he kept for Nigeria in a friendly match against Morocco in Rabat. He is also a member of the U. 15 team that left Nigeria to Algiers, Algeria for the African Youth Games. Aluko is an SS 1 student of the school. Hamza Dauda of the same class is also in the team.
Moses Aluko, Kumate Shina and Habeeb Kazeem represented Nigeria in the Coca-Cola 5 aside international tournament in South Africa, 2017. They came out as runners up. The three were chosen as Coca-Cola Nigeria ambassadors to FIFA World Cup in Russia”.
“At the end of 2017/2018 academic session, the students population is 98, with 72 on scholarship. In 2016, girls were introduced into the school. There are 12 girls in the school now, all on scholarship.
“The Academy has graduated two sets of students/players . 14 out of the first set are now studying various academic courses at the Nasarawa University Keffi, all on the Academy’s scholarship . The second set, recorded over 99% success in 2018 WAEC SSCE exams. 16 out of the 17 students registered over six credits including English and Mathematics. Only one student had D7 in English, but more than Six papers in the exams” Ngwaogu concluded.