His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello, led the New Direction team against the Austin Jay Jay Okocha captained soccer legends on the 30th of March at the 25,000 capacity Confluence stadium on Tuesday.
It was a refreshing difference from the status quo we were used to. For once, our downplayed and forgotten football heroes were brought into the limelight once again.
No matter the purpose or reason for the Novelty match that took place on the
30 March 2021, Governor Yahaya Bello should be given kudos for the event.
In the first place, these were heroes that were not given appropriate and commensurate recognition by the government they played for . This poor reward system has been a consistent damper of enthusiasm and patriotism on the path of the football legends
Hence, Governor Yahaya Bello satisfies the need for recognition of the patriotic zeal and service to the fatherland by the football stars who took Nigeria to the peak of football glory in their time.
The novelty match between Ex Super Eagles Stars and the New Direction Team of Kogi was a rallying point for Nigerian youths especially kogi youths with Nigerian heroes whom they have heard much about but had never met.
Sequel to a courtesy visit to governor Yahaya Bello at the government house Lokoja the team which included Bonfere Jo that took the Nigerian team to Atlanta 96 and heroes like Sunday Olise, Kanu Nwakwo ,Jay Jay Okocha Austin’s Oguavon, Garuba Lawal, Peter Rufai, Victor Ikpeba Tijani Babangida, among others came for the novelty match.
It was an eloquent testmoniy of Governor Bello’s desire to celebrate the youths in the country, something other politicians should emulate.
The members of the New Direction Team who took on the former national stars at Lokoja confluence stadium, the capital city of Kogi State, were proving a point lost to many and which we should all embrace-that we are all pertakers in National Pride and that non should be left out in the celebration of national values that were had won by heroes past.
Governor Yahaya Bello has become a potent instrument for national youths mobilization and a source of inspiration to leaders of tomorrow.
Dr Tom Ohikere writes from Abuja