By Kemi Ajayi
Lagos – As the maiden Africa Freestyle Football Championships draws near, the organisers say they are dolling out prizes worth over 50,000 dollars.
Valentine Ozigbo, the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, the organisers of the event, told a news conference on Monday that the event would hold from Sept. 13 to Sept. 15 in Lagos.
Ozigbo, who said the competition was being conducted in partnership with the World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA), added that it would feature no fewer than 40 participants from across Africa.
The chairman said that the success achieved at the 2017 Nigeria Freestyle Football Championship gave birth to the continental event.
“The success achieved last year at the Nigerian competition gave birth to this African championships, and we are happy that freestyle footballers from across Africa will be in Nigeria for this event.
“We are excited to pave a new dimension for the event in Africa because freestyle football home is Africa.
“The prize money includes a brand new car and the winner will represent the continent at the Redbull World Freestyle Football competition in Poland later this year,’’ he said.
Ozigbo said the body in conjunction with WFFA would continue to work on the development of freestyle talents and continually exploit all available resources to create more awareness.
He added that Iya Traore, a Guinean footballer and freestyler, who has been featured in Guinness Book of Records, and Raquel Benetti, a famous female freestyle footballer from Brazil would be present to spice up the event.
Ozigbo said that the competition would be broadcast live on Startimes, while international judges would be used to determine winners.
“The event is being planned as a perfect fusion of freestyle football and entertainment as top music and dance artistes will be performing.
“On the final day, two of the prominent freestyle footballers will also be on ground to support the event with their display,’’ he said.
He commended the sponsors, including Heritage Bank, Sprite and Startimes for partnering with Feet ‘N’ Tricks to ensure the success of the event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that freestyle football is the art and sport of juggling football using all parts of the body to entertain audiences and out-perform opponents.
It is also known as Freestyle Soccer in North America, and is a fusion of tricks with a ball, dance and music.