“My Camp Coach Bobby, taught us many things about malaria, especially about using the bed net to protect myself from mosquito bite, and the importance of taking malaria pills in case I do get ill with malaria.”
This is Michael Aderemi. He goes to Behrman Junior High School in Mushin, Lagos, where he lives with his parents. He is 12 years old and he loves to play football.
“I love football a lot, it gives me so much joy and excitement when I play on the field, especially when I score goals and my team wins,” says Michael when asked about his football interest.
Figure 1 - Michael Aderemi joggling One World Futbol
He heard about the Grassroot Soccer Nigeria ‘Skillz Football Holiday Camp’ when a Team of GRS Coaches stormed his community to create awareness about the program. He especially loved the fact that there was a lot of football involved and the venue was pretty close to his home.
The holiday program supported by Novartis, MacAIDS Fund and ExxonMobil was put together to create a safe space for young boys and girls to come play football, learn football skills, learn about the importance of health care and build life skills.
In support of the malaria educational activities, Novartis had earlier supplied the program with 280 One World Futbols – nearly indestructible balls that never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured multiple times. The footballs are a perfect fit for any terrain or landscape, and will last for years. The balls are being used extensively to help reinforce key messages about malaria treatment and prevention and teach several practices in the ‘Skillz Naija’ curriculum such as Risk Field, One or None and Team Sky Ball.
Michael Aderemi started playing football when he was 6 years old. He joined a local club called ‘FC Success’ run by Mr Musibau Oseni, popularly known as ‘MS’.
MS runs the ‘Aspire Football Dreams’ Academy, where Michael has been nurturing his football skills, before making it to the academy’s football squad, FC Success. He wears the number 10 jersey for his club and plays the attacking position primarily.
Michael’s Coach, MS, is very pleased with him, he said, “He is an intelligent boy with listening ears. He is obedient and dedicated, and I believe he and many of the boys I train in my academy will go far in the sport.”
Figure 2 - Michael Aderemi in Action at the Holiday Camp
Speaking about his experience at the Camp, Michael said, “At the camp I learnt some new football skills and I made new friends in the camp. My Camp Coach Bobby, taught us many things about malaria, especially about using the bed net to protect myself from mosquito bite. I will share this knowledge with my other friends who couldn’t be at the camp.”
For Michael whose favourite subject in school is Mathematics, affirmed that coming to the camp and playing with the One World Futbol created for him the feeling of playing in major league football. His dream of becoming a top footballer in the future was strengthened with every kick of the one world futbol, and when he scored the winning goal for his Camp Country Club, he could picture himself scoring goals even for the ‘Super Eagles’ of Nigeria and Barcelona FC, his favourite football club.
Figure 3 - Michael Aderemi with Skillz Certificate and Magazine