In a display of glitz and glamour, Ilaji Hotel and Resorts, a prominent establishment in Ibadan with a keen interest in youth development, joined forces with the Ajara Humanitarian Foundation to contribute to the ongoing Ajara U-17 Football Competition in Osogbo. This collaborative effort saw the donation of kits and award plaques to the young athletes participating in the quarter-finals of the tournament, which boasts over two hundred and fifty secondary school students in its second edition.
The Ajara Humanitarian Foundation, a non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and promoting youth empowerment through education and talent discovery, received the generous contribution from Ilaji Hotel and Resorts. The foundation has a track record of providing life skills to youths within and outside the state. The Executive Director of the foundation, Alhaji Dr. Adebayo Jimoh, expressed his gratitude during a brief event at his Osogbo residence where the kits, medals, and plaques were handed over. He commended the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Ilaji Hotel and Resorts, represented by Coach Zico and Coach Sesan, for their commitment to the project.
Dr. Jimoh, a versatile administrator and financial expert, conveyed his appreciation, stating, “I want to sincerely thank the management of Ilaji Hotels and Resorts for coming on board. We presented the visuals of what we did last year to them, and they were so thrilled and partnered with us without any bottlenecks. Our football platform is aimed at discovering future Okochas, Kanus, and even Oshimens. We are glad to have you with us; it’s an honor, it means we are doing sensible things. We are so grateful for keying into this project. I am optimistic about more years of greater partnership.”
Coach Zico, representing Ilaji FC, emphasized the club’s commitment to youth development, stating, “Ilaji is synonymous with youth development; this underscores our vision, and that’s our area of calling. We have penciled down close to fifty players that we will further work with after the tourney. This is our first time coming on board, our CEO and COO are delighted with the project. We will donate more and fully involve next year.”
Ilaji FC’s contribution included the donation of four sets of jerseys for the semi-finalists, awards for the Most Valuable Player (MVP), highest goal scorer, best goalkeeper, most behaved team, and best coach. The football competition, powered by US-based Dr. Lanre Jimoh, aligns with his passion for youth empowerment, reflecting the values of his father, Alhaji Bayo Jimoh, a former group managing director of the Odua Investment Company.
With Ataoja High School and Rex-Varsity already qualifying for the semi-finals, having defeated Osogbo Grammar School and Salvation GS, the tournament promises more exciting duels. An-Nur School is set to face off against Islamic School, while Ido Osun High School will clash with Ham Zainab in the other quarter-final fixtures. The ultimate prize for the winner is a cash reward of one million and two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N1,250,000.00) along with a prestigious trophy, while the runner-up will receive half a million Naira. Souvenirs await all participating schools, adding an extra layer of encouragement and appreciation for their involvement in this youth-focused initiative.