Pompey and SSF join forces for Eko Football Festival
League One side Portsmouth are teaming up with the Sodje Sports Foundation (SSF) to take an Academy team to Nigeria next week to compete in a new six-a-side tournament.
Six of the club’s second-year apprentices, led by Academy manager Andy Awford, have been invited by the SSF, a charity set-up by the famous footballing brothers, to take part in the Eko Football Festival in Lagos.
Pompey, who will be the only representatives from Europe, will leave on September 24 for six days with Soccerex, the Lagos authorities and Arik Air covering the cost of travel and accommodation.
Looking ahead to the trip, Awford said: “If we win the cup then great but I am not going for that reason. This is about our lads being given the opportunity to experience another culture and another country and all the benefits that go with that.
“There are affluent areas in that part of the world and we will see some underprivileged ones as well, so it will be a great experience for us all. We haven’t got a match on the Saturday so are not going to miss any games. It comes at a good time for our second-year apprentices.
“I would also like to stress that this club is not spending a penny – it is entirely funded by the hosts. For that we owe them a massive thanks, firstly for inviting us and then making it a possibility through funding. The Lagos state government has our thanks, along with others who have helped make this possible.”
Seyi Akinwunmi, Lagos State FA chairman, commented: “We at the Lagos State Football Association are extremely pleased that the Portsmouth FC Academy has accepted our invitation to participate at our Eko Football Festival 2012 Under 17 football tournament in Lagos. We are proud to be associated with a team with such rich developmental pedigree and look forward to their arrival.”