The draw for the 5th edition of the Cohesion Football Tournament, an annual football competition that engages at-risk children across different local government areas in Lagos and Ogun State, was held on Friday, November 10, 2023, at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Surulere, Lagos.

This year’s tournament will feature 32 under-13 male teams and, for the very first time, 10 female teams.

The 2-day competition will be held at the Union Bank Stable in Surulere on Tuesday, December 19th, and Wednesday, December 20th, 2023.

The football tournament is aimed at developing underserved pre-teens between the ages of 9-13 with the core values, knowledge, and skills needed to realise their full potential as leaders of the next generation.

It is designed to productively engage these children and steer them away from crime, substance abuse, and other social vices.

While speaking at the live draw, Damilare Obagbemi, convener of the tournament, expressed his excitement about the 5th edition.

“We are delighted to witness the growth of this competition from its inception in 2019 with 12 teams to 42 teams of male and female sides this year,” Obagbemi said.

“We are looking forward to seeing these athletes showcase their talents and skills on the field, as well as learn valuable lessons about teamwork, discipline, and leadership.

“Our aim has always been to create a platform for these children to discover their potential and pursue their dreams while also staying in school.

“As we come together each year, we are not merely celebrating the beautiful game of football but also weaving a tapestry of hope, community, and opportunity.

“Every match played on the field is a step towards a brighter future, steering our children away from the perils of crime, substance abuse, and other social vices.

“So, let our tournament not be seen just as a series of matches, but as a symbol of cohesion, where the bonds we forge and the values we uphold transcend the final score.

“Let our shared commitment to these young talents remind us that, through sports, we can build a better world.

“Together, we inspire, empower, and create lasting change – one goal, one kick, and one heartfelt belief at a time,” he added.

The draws were conducted by football legend Etim Esin, who is popularly known as the ‘African Maradona’, in the presence of partners, sponsors, coaches, the media, and sports enthusiasts.

The Cohesion Football Tournament, which launched in December 2019 with only 12 teams from Mushin and Surulere LGA, has continued to grow through the years with the support of partners.

These partners include Premier Cool, Apollo, Gamr, Firewood Jollof, Maltina, Dios Dlite, Riquesa, Cowbell Chocolate, Twisco, Nigeria Info, and Femi & The Gang.

For more information, please follow the Cohesion Football Tournament on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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