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SACT 2023: I’m Fulfilled With Our Progress So Far, Says Akinwunmi

Former 1st Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, spoke to ADEKUNLE SALAMI on the forthcoming charity football tournament in Ajegunle. Excerpts:

How are the preparations for the SACT this year?

The preparations are going quite well. We are a bit experienced at this now, so I would say things are going pretty smooth

Being the 10th edition, what are your thoughts about the journey so far?

I feel quote fulfilled about what we have done over the years. I will tell you a story. In the year 2020, I prayed and it was laid on my heart to have the tournament in Ajegunle. I thought Ajegunle? Where? At the Maracana…and Maracana had not been built. And this year, it is happening. What God cannot do does not exist.

Can you recall some memorable moments in the past editions of the programme?

Oh yes. I remember an edition that we had in Lagos in which we had children from the IDP camp from the North East. It was their first time of leaving the North and it was great to see the children in camp making friends. I also remember the edition in Gombe where the stadium was filled with spectators as though it was a Super Eagles match. Of course the 2022 edition was special because it marked my 60th birthday.

It was graced with the presence of the current Chief of Staff to The President, Femi Gbajabiamila and many of my friends. It also apparently made history by having two premier league teams playing a friendly match for a private citizen during the league season.

Tell us about the feedbacks from parents and guardians on the beneficiaries in the past…

I told a story only a few days ago out a guardian who approached me at an event in Ilorin thanking me for giving hope to their family through the grant given to their child which came at an opportune time. She told me that the child had since finished secondary school and was in Univer- sity. There are many testimonies not only from guardians and parents but from coaches. I once met a coach in Abuja who came up to me and said that his trip to Lagos for the tournament was the fillip he needed to get his career going and that he was now an assistant coach with a premier league team.

How many teams will take part this year?

20 teams

What is your vision for this project in another five to 10 years?

My vision is to have a week or a weekend holiday camp for the children and to have intervened in the education of over 1000 children. I pray in the years to come, that my children will help to take it to a level far beyond my vision. That is my dream.

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