John Benjamin at the weekend won the Lagos zone of the 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship audition held at the Rowe Park, Yaba.
Organised by Feet ‘n’ Tricks under the authority of World Freestyle Football Association, Benjamin emerged tops after a keenly contested final with Larry Etuduvwun and Taiwo Oni, who finished second and third respectively.
Over 60 participants thrilled the lively fans with sensational ball juggling skills in the competition in which Damilola Adeshina fended off challenges from Augustina Unamba and Mariam Olaobi to win the women’s category.
Super Falcons forward, Rashidat Ajibade, who is the defending champions of the women’s event of the championships, will be aiming for her third straight title when the crème-de-la-crème gather in the final later in the year.Among the highlights of the event was dreadlocks-wearing Oni twins, Taiwo and Kehinde going as far as the semifinals before the teenagers bowed out to Benjamin and Etuduvwun.
For their efforts, the top three in both the male and female categories went home with N100,000, N75,000 and N50,000 respectively.Speaking after the show, Feet ‘n’ Tricks Chairman, Valentine Ozigbo expressed delight at the growing enthusiasm of youths to freestyle football, saying it was getting bigger in terms of participation and awareness across the country.
He revealed that the championships would be covered live by Startimes in 30 countries in Africa where they are present and also on their digital channels.
The Lagos championship marked the start of the four regional championships in Nigeria with Delta State, the next port of call for the ball-juggling extravaganza on Sunday June 30 at the Brownhill Event Centre, Warri. Owerri, the capital of Imo State, will then hold the penultimate regional championship on July 6 at Cubans Lounge before the series will climax in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on July 13 at Central Park.
The grand finale is scheduled for Lagos on September 14 and 15 with over 100 participants representing about 30 countries expected to participate.Last year, prizes with more than $50, 000 were won including a brand new car for the champion who was also sponsored to the World Championship.