Presudent of Nigeria Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung shall lead a host of other personalities in government, politics and society, the corporate world and the sports fraternity to the launch of the Stephen Keshi Football and Vocational Training Center, a project instituted to immortalise the late icon of Nigeria football and legendary captain and coach of the Nigeria Super Eagles.
The event holding on the 16th of March 2017 at the Conference Hall of Prestige Hotel GRA Benin City, Edo State is one of activities put in place by the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers (NANPF), custodians of the project, to raise funds for the construction of the Stephen Keshi Football and Vocational Training Center situated at Obazuwa (now known as Nigeria Footbalkers Village) in Edo State.
In a statement released on Monday by the Secretary General of NANPF, Austin Popo, the center is desgned to immortalise the outstanding legacies and contributions of Stephen Okechukwu Keshi to the overall development of Nigeria and Africa Football.
“The late Stephen Keshi remains a legend of Nigeria and Africa Football having captained the Nigeria Senior National Football Team (Super Eagles) for eleven years during which he won bronze, silver and good in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), and subsequently led the team to qualify for Nigeria’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals-USA 1994.
“He also became only the second person to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and as a coach when he handled the Super Eagles to win the AFCON title in South Africa in 2013.”
The Stephen Keshi Centre, occupying a land space of 1000 by 1000ft donated by a former Nigerian footballer and Prince of Benin Kingdom, Edun Akenzua (MFR), the Enogie (Duke) of Obazuwa in Edo State and estimated to cost N3billion will feature facilities including gallery, main football pitch, three training pitches, tennis and basketball courts and an auditorium.
The facility shall also host a complex of two-bedroom apartments to be sold to footballers and coaches in addition to a guest house, a medical centre and pharmacy.
The centre shall also provide facilities for vocational, technical skills acquisition and youth empowerment including primary and secondary education centres, workshops for automobile, electrical, furniture and fashion design among others.
Other commercial and industrial inputs include a pure water factory, bakery, agricultural area for bird and animal husbandry, food crops and a host of others
According to NANPF, the Stephen Keshi Centre is one of the six Nigeria Footballers Villages planned by the Players Union in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
“The objective is to provide massive employment, entrepreneurial and empowerment opportunities for retired Nigeria professional footballers and Nigeria youths through its “Football in the Community Project “.
“The centres are to serve as a focal point for both the technical and academic development of young talented Nigerian footballers to build their career paths before during and after retirement.”
The Dinner Launch for the Stephen Keshi Centre will be preceded by the meeting of the players union (NANPF) National Administrative Council (NAC) scheduled for the evening of 15th March 2017, the eve of the event.