Abuja – The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL), Mr Olushola Ogunnowo, on Tuesday in Abuja said the league was partnering with FIFA on a grassroots development programme.
Ogunnowo said the project was a nationwide health campaign for youths using the league as a vehicle.
“The project, which is known as, `The 11 for Health`, aimed at delivering health education programmes to the youth population of Nigeria.
“The football for health programme will convey health education programmes to youths in their schools using the football environment to improve their knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviour towards diseases.’’
This, he contended, would reduce the future incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country’’, he said.
He explained that the league management became interested in the programme after its medical officer, Dr Olajide Adebola, who is also on the FIFA medical network, made it known to them.
“He made us realise that there were some projects that FIFA was involved in for grassroots leagues like ours, called “the FIFA 11 plus.
“So, we wrote to FIFA through the NFA and they were so interested in assisting us and responded positively.
“They were so excited that the NNWL was ready to be part of the project and I am pleased to inform you that we have already started working with them on the project’’, Ogunnowo said.
The secretary also noted that the players, who constituted the league were not healthy; adding that there was no way the league could run smoothly without healthy players, based on what FIFA preaches.
He also said that playing football as a leisure activity could serve as extremely effective disease prevention in itself, adding “football is fun and not a tedious obligation.
“The positive effect of physical exercise like jogging, walking, cycling and strength training in reducing risk factors has been proven for many diseases.
“Studies have shown that prescribed exercise can be therapy for treating obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart and pulmonary disease, muscle, bone and joint diseases, cancer and depression’’, he said.
He also explained that the procedure for implementing the project would include a FIFA-organised training for league managers and the “11 for Health’’ instructors within the country.
“The 11 for Health’’ programme will be inaugurated in secondary schools where the clubs are located in the country’’, he said.
The NNWL which is the third tier of the country’s domestic league, comprised 128 clubs.
It has two regular divisions of Division One, which has four groups, and Division Two which has eight groups.
The league’s Division Three is played on a zonal basis, based on geo-political zone groupings. (NAN)