A former Flying Eagles player, and founder of the Global Perspective Youths Sports, Hakeem Disu, has reiterated his commitment to giving back to the society after a fulfilling footbal career.
Disu, based in the United States of America where he practices as a football coach has just concluded a football clinic for children at the Olusosun primary school, Oregun Lagos.
The event which featured about 100 school children was an opportunity for the former footballer to give back to the society that produced him.
According to him, it was an opportunity for the children to showcase their talents and interest in the game of football.
“Our program originated from Arizona, United States of America as a non-profit organisation. It is like a charity organisation and we are not expecting financial returns,” he said after a training session with the children.
Disu, a former player of the defunct Housing Corporation football club, Abeokuta and National Bank of Lagos, said his background has inspired him to affect lives of the younger generation.
“What inspired me is my background in Nigeria and the fact that I come from a footballing family. It is not just about me, but the family. I was born and raised in a football family. My elder brother, Tunde Disu is a famous coach in Nigeria and all my brothers are also footballers. My brother, Tajudeen Disu was captain of the Flying Eagles and also played with Abiola Babes,” he explained.
Talking further about his career, Disu said, “I played with the Flying Eagles and the Eaglets as well before I went to the United States for studies. I studied on scholarship because I was a footballer.
“Afterwards I got in touch with a lot of people, a lot of football clinics and I said I want to give back to those kids back home. I feel they are less privileged and they need to grow up. I got in touch with the Humanity Family Foundation For Peace and Development (HUFFPED) and the organisation helped out with the logistics,” he said.
Continuing, Disu said, “As you can see, most of these kids played barefooted on rough surface, we want to raise fund to support their footballing career and make them better in life. We want to go back and raise support.”
“Our organisation, Global Perspective Youths Sport is registered in the United States, it is an after school initiative. We have mentoring, counseling programs, so it is not just about playing football alone as we need to develop them mentally as well. We also came with coaches; they were all here to take the children in the training.
“The key thing we need is the interest of these children, you cannot drag people from the streets to come and be trained, there needs to be a measure of interest,” he said.
Also at the football clinic, a board member of the organisation, Lotat Bosede Balogun, who was elated at the turn out of the children. “I’m so happy, watching the children play. For me it was a great experience, we all have what to give back to the society,” she said, adding that, “When they see coaches around them, teaching them professional things about the game it makes them feel loved. This feeling cannot be bought with money.”
Continuing, Balogun observed that, “A lot of them played barefooted and that is really a big need. We provided t-shirts and lunch, they were enthusiastic. I see a lot of future stars. So some of them had been playing before and we can identify their skills. Our plan in the near future is to take this clinic beyond here, reach out to more schools and communities then probably organise some little tournaments,” she hoped.
According to her, she would like a situation where these children would be assisted to play football at the same time study on scholarships. “We are looking at a situation where they can play football while pursuing their academics in a structured manner, we appreciate HUFFPED for their support,” she said.
A Board Member at HOFFPED, Mrs. Adeyeye at the event commended the efforts of the organisation. The elated Adeyeye said, “It was more than my expectation, the children came out in their numbers and we had four groups of 12 children initially and each group had a coach. They went through the rudimentary and got t-shirts. We had children from Apapa Local government and Ikeja Local Government Areas.
“I don’t want it to end here, we can have a monthly training, take it to another Local Government area and later even have a tournament for the children to keep them busy, who knows we can have a Messi or a Ronaldo from here,” Adeyeye said.
Encouraging parents of the children, Adeyeye said, “Some of the parents were here to watch their children play and they were also happy. I admonish parents of interested children to encourage them. The game will not affect their education which is key. As they develop mentally they must also develop physically.
“It is better to engage them in football than to have them spend their idle time on crime and drugs, it is better to give them an alternative so that we don’t have to start repairing them in future.
“We can create more time for them to play and during half time we teach them about dangers of drug abuse and danger of HIV, this will be a big opportunity for them,” she said.
Some of the children expressed their gratitude at the gesture. Omobolaji Timilehin is a student of Ogudu Junior Grammar School who likes to make a career out of football. “I am in JS3, I like to study while I also play football because there is no beauty where there is no brain,” the 13 year old said.
Another female footballer,13-year-old Evelyn Pam is a student of Oregun High School who would like to attend further football training so she could be a good striker.
From Oregun Primary School was Olamide Ganiyu, a mid-fielder who wants to play football professionally in future.
Daniel Oshalade, is another pupil at the event who is already in an academy. “I used to go for training and my coach plays me as a striker, my favourite footballer is Rohnaldinho, I am also very happy when I score goals,” he said.