The race to be part of the 2019 edition of the African Freestyle Football Championship has officially kicked off.
The first regional finals held in Lagos at the weekend.
John Benjamin and Damilola Adeshina emerged as the top winners in the Lagos regional finals organised by Feet ‘n’ Tricks under the authority of World Freestyle Football Association.
Benjamin emerged as the winner after a keenly-contested final with Larry Etuduvwun, while Taiwo Oni finished in the third position.
Over 60 participants were on hand to thrill the lively fans with sensational ball juggling skills all day at the Rowe Park Sports Centre Yaba, Lagos.
Damilola Adeshina fended off the challenges from Augustina Unamba and Mariam Olaobi as she won the women’s category, followed by Unamba and Olaobi in second and third positions respectively.
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 saw 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 the sum of N100,000, N75,000 and N50,000 for first, second and third positions respectively.
Feet ‘n’ Tricks chairman, Valentine Ozigbo, expressed delight at the growing enthusiasm of youth to freestyle football, stating that it was getting bigger in terms of participation and awareness across the country.
He also revealed that the 2019 Africa Championships would be showcased to a larger audience across Africa and the world.
The Lagos championship marked the start of the four regional championships in Nigeria. Delta State would be the next point 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 worth more than $50, 000 were won, including a brand new car for the champion, who was also sponsored to the World Championship.