We are thrilled to announce that our project, “Fun Football in Nigeria – A Pathway to Child Resilience and Empowerment of Former Football Players and Women in NEET Situations,” has been successfully funded by the UEFA Foundation for Children. This marks a significant milestone in our efforts to use sports as a tool for social change and community development in Nigeria.
Our journey began with a deep understanding of the challenges faced by young, unemployed former football players and women in Nigeria’s NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) situations. With the collaborative effort of Cross Cultures, the All Nigerian Football Players Union (ANFPU), and Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF), we aim to harness the power of children’s fun football to promote peace and social cohesion in conflict-sensitive areas.
The project’s core objective is to mobilize and empower a network of unemployed former football players and women in NEET situations, using Fun Football activities to foster peaceful coexistence and enhance resilience. Our target groups include these individuals, alongside vulnerable children aged 6-12 in Nigeria, especially in communities affected by conflict and socio-economic challenges.
In February 2023, we organized a landmark event in Abuja for 94 former/unemployed footballers, including six former national team players. They were trained as volunteer coaches in the Fun Football concept, subsequently organizing an Open Fun Football School (OFFS) for 200 children. The event’s success, witnessed by over 17 million social media interactions, reinforced our belief in the project’s potential.
With the UEFA Foundation‘s support, we will expand our reach to more communities in Nigeria, targeting specific regions like Abuja, Anambra, Bauchi, and Benue. Our activities will focus on leader and coach training, organizing OFFS, and integrating Fun Football into primary school curricula. This holistic approach aims to impact not just the individual lives of the participants but also to contribute significantly to the broader societal goals, including addressing issues like early school leaving and youth unemployment.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the UEFA Foundation for recognizing and supporting our vision. This funding is not just a financial boost but a validation of our belief in the transformative power of sports. We look forward to substantially impacting Nigerian youth’s lives and contributing to their communities’ sustainable development.