PETER RUFAI THRILLS WITH DODO MAYANA SOCCERTHON
With calls for more grassroots programmes and for ex-internationals to be more actively involved in sporting matters, the “Dodo Mayana Soccerthon” was organized to meet that demand.
Organized by former Super Eagles goalkeeper Peter Rufai popularly known as “Dodo Mayana”, the tournament is a youth development and empowerment championship aimed at giving soccer amateurs the opportunity to express their talents with a huge possibility for recruitment.
The week long tournament which started on the 25th of April, 2019 was held at the Agege stadium and saw 16 teams from 15 states across the country grouped into four groups of four teams each. After days of exciting football action, the semi-final saw Ogun, Kwara, Akwa-Ibom and Enugu battle it out for honours. Kwara defeated Ogun 1-0 while Enugu edged past Akwa Ibom 5-4 on penalties after playing out a 0-0 scoreline in regulation time. In the final, Kwara pipped Enugu 1-0 to emerge winners of the competition.
The grand-finale of the Dodo Mayana Soccerthon was filled with glitz and glamour and also packed with lots of fun and excitment. It was graced by ex-internationals, foreign scouts, agents, sports administrators, corporate bodies and the general public. The Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) spiced up the event with a great performance of military display while popular artist Mr Real was on hand to thrill everyone with performance from his hit song “legbegbe”. One of the highlights of the day was the celebrity match between The Nigerian Legends and Nollywood Stars which eneded in a draw.
The Nigerian Football Supporters Club as well as those from other sports was very much represented and did provide entertainment with melodious tunes led by its President Dr. Rauf Ladipo.
Rahl Keswani, Managing Director of SPAR, one of the event’s sponsors expressed his delight at being part of the project while Head Marketing DARAJU, Benson Abraham was full of excitement for the massive involvement of the state government in making the soccerthon tournament a success. Also, Mr Bakare, Managing Director Lagos Airport Hotel couldn’t hide his joy at the accomplishment of the organizers even as he announced his company’s geture to the winners.
Michella Carmen Rufai, Director of Organization and wife of Peter Rufai spoke of her joy at the success of the event and thanked all for their support and participation.
In his closing remark, Peter Rufai appreciated all for their belief in the project and their contributions towards its success, he specially thanked the state governors of the participating teams and also the sponsors, ex-internationals, Nollywood stars, players and the general public for making the maiden edition of the tournament one to remember, promising that the next edition would be more better and larger. He added that he was proud to have been discovered here in Nigeria having played in the national team as a home-based player before moving abroad, proudly going on to term himself as "made in Nigeria".