This year’s Nigerian Freestyle Football Championship came to an exciting finish on Saturday, with Benjamin Ebong and Augustina Unamba, both reigning champions, emerging as the winners of the keenly contested games, which held online.
Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, the largest promoter of Freestyle Football in Africa, hosted the games as part of the on-going Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020, which is the virtual version of the annual African Freestyle Football Championship.
The finals of the virtual games streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram with eight athletes contesting to be the Nigerian freestyle football champions.
While speaking at the opening ceremony of the championship, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, encouraged the athletes to remain committed to their passion and wished them luck.
Ozigbo also expressed satisfaction and pride at the skills on display and the growth of freestyle football as a sport.
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“We are glad to have been part of a project like this that provides a platform for young Nigerians to showcase their talents especially at times like this. It aligns with our commitment to support Nigerian youth and empower them through meaningful initiatives such as freestyle football,” said Rahul De, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria.
Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020 kicked off on July 1, 2020 with cash prizes won by more than 30 freestylers in the People’s Choice Prizes, which were determined by fan engagement online.
With their victories, Benjamin Ebong and Augustina Unamba walk away with a cash prize of N150,000 each as the Nigerian Freestyle Football Champions of 2020 in the male and female categories.
The 2nd Place winners, the 2017 champion, McCarthy Obanor (Men) and the reigning African Women Champion, Evelyn Okafor (Women), each go home with N100,000. While the 3rd Place winners Prince Okereke (Men) and Treasure Nwoye (Women) go home with N50,000 each. In addition the 4th to 8th finalists in both categories get N20,000.
“COVID-19 forced this virtual contest on us and we are delighted that we were able to hold this competition virtually and successfully,” Mr. Valentine Ozigbo declared as the winners celebrate their victories.
“Freestyle Football has come to stay in Nigeria and we are extremely excited about the rapid growth of the sport in Nigeria, as well as Africa,” Mr. Ozigbo told journalists on a video call to the studio in Victoria Island from his location.
Freestyle UNLOCKED Africa 2020 continues as athletes from around the continent battle in the African Freestyle Football Championship with winners in the men and women’s category standing a chance to win $1,000 each when the grand finale holds on Sunday, August 2, 2020.
A panel of international judges – Lukasz Chwieduk from Poland, U.S.A’s Caitlyn Schrepfer, Yo Katsuyama of Japan and South African duo Kamal ‘Kamilio’ Ranchod and Chris Njokwana – determined the winner through the process of elimination in live battles.