- Published on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 15:50
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By Uchenna Iyoke
Kano Pillars midfielder Rabiu Ali became the latest player to participate in the ‘Play with Compassion’ charity theme of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) anchored on the VAT Wonder Goal award.
Winners of the VAT Wonder Goal which is supported by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) nominate and visit charity organizations which receive half of the N150,000 prize money attached to the award.
In recent months, Rivers United duo of Ayo Saka and Emeka Ogbuh, Ubong Friday of Akwa United, Pascal Seka of FC Ifeanyiubah, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu of Enyimba and Usman Ahmed of Wikki Tourists took turns to visit charity homes, mainly orphanages in their respective states following their emergence as VAT Wonder Goal winners. The reception has been as overwhelming to the inmates as it has been emotionally touching to the players. Many other players are on line to make similar visits
Ali, who won the award for Matchday 26 was an instant hit with kids at the Nasarawa Children Orphanage Home run by the Kano State government, played around with them and asked some of them their preferred sport. To his surprise, nearly all of them did not only express a preference for football, they did recognize him instantly and spoke of how they would love to play like him.
His presence brightened their day and they flocked around him and narrated that the orphanage has a football club and the children said they want to play the way he does.
An emotional Ali afterward expressed delight that the circumstance of the children has in no way robbed them of the innate skills and the love for football. He was much happier at the recognition by the kids and said it is evident that there is much the younger generation can benefit from the NPFL if the opportunities that abound are optimized by government and corporations.
"This is a clear indication that the NPFL has a whole lot to offer to the younger generation. So it is important to set up a standard that will accommodate this young ones in the future," pleaded Ali who netted for the Nigeria home-based national team that recently qualified for the CHAN for players based in their home countries.
Ali also seized the occasion to advise his fellow players in the NPFL to not only work towards the highest level of professionalism but also to ensure good conduct at all times since they are being watched by younger ones.
"If these young ones are looking up to us as their mentors, then we must set good example at all times so the kids would see good models to emulate and to be the best," said Ali to npfl.ng.
Turning again to the kids, Ali, who is one of the longest serving players in Kano Pillars, admonished them not to give up on their dreams of becoming professional football players, saying, “keep your dreams alive, be focused and work hard towards achieving your desired goals.”
Officer in-charge of the orphanage home Hajia Lauria Sagir Garba expressed gratitude to Ali for the kind gesture of making the home a beneficiary of the NPFL Wonder Goal initiative.
She urged all stakeholders of the league to maintain the tempo of a high standard, describing quality initiatives as the bedrock of success.
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