Three-time FIFA World Cup winner, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, is expected to arrive in Nigeria to begin a three-day visit aimed at aiding the growth of football in the country.
The three-day visit is part of the YEDA Legend edition 2016 organised by Winihin Jemide Series (WJS) and Youth Experience Days Africa (YEDA).
According to the Event Coordinator, songstress, Chidimma Okebalama, also known as Chee, the Brazilian football legend, who will arrive at the Murtala Mohammed Airport this evening, would be joined by renowned Nigerian stars, including former Super Eagles’ Captain, Peter Rufai, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba, among others, to mentor the country’s youth son the rudiments of the game and how to make successful careers playing soccer.
The clinic will hold tomorrow at the Campos Mini Stadium, Lagos, while the visit would be rounded off by a gala dinner in honour of the legend on Saturday at the Skylounge, Eko Hotel and Towers, Lagos. Okebalama said the visit “is focused on the development of football and the Nigerian youth and will bring together football loving teenagers, parents and key figures within Lagos State Government, corporates and football regulatory bodies.”
Aside from the football clinic and the exclusive dinner with Pele and other African football legends, she said there would be opportunities “for football aficionados to own Pele memorabilia at an auction during the dinner, whose proceeds will be donated to the Kanu Nwankwo Foundation and the City of David football academy.”
She added that the football event would climax with a celebrity exhibition match featuring Kanu Nwankwo, Victor Ikpeba, Peter Rufai, Timi Dakolo and Gideon Okeke, among others, at the Campos Mini Stadium, Onikan Lagos.
Okebalama disclosed that children from the football clinic will be part of teams to feature in the Legend Cup tournament and photo session with Pele, adding that tickets for the Legend Football Clinic is N5, 000 flat.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ icon, Peter Rufai, has warned the celebrities to be ready for heavy drubbing when they meet in the novelty match that is part of the three-day event.
Rufai told The Guardian that the retired professionals were aware of the celebrities boasts over the game, saying the former Super Eagles stars have been training hard to ensure there were no surprises at the Campos Mini Stadium tomorrow.
“The celebrities have been looking for a way to beat the former internationals, but I don’t see how they will do it against a team comprising Uche Okechukwu, Ikpeba, Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Etim Esin, Mutiu Adepoju, Austin Eguavoen and Ben Iroha, who has flown in from America just for this game,” he said.
Apart from the game, Rufai said Pele’s visit would add an impetus in the development of the game, adding that it also presents an opportunity for the older generation of Nigerians to see the icon in person.
“It will also give us the opportunity to work with Pele and other coaches to educate Nigerian youths on the route to a good future in football,” he added.