SPECTATOR: LYNDA EKEOPARA: A silent Football Amazon from the South East.

SPECTATOR: LYNDA EKEOPARA: A silent Football Amazon from the South East.
SPECTATOR: LYNDA EKEOPARA: A silent Football Amazon from the South East.


I have noticed the increasing interest in Football Business in Nigeria. This is not my first time of making this observation.

I remembered that I added in one of my earlier write up that Football Academy owners in Nigeria should come together and form the Association of Football Academies in Nigeria (AFAN). I believe the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will expressly grant approval  for the formation of the Association because of their increasing relevance to the growth of the game in Nigeria. It is therefore not surprising that the NFF President, Ibrahim Musa Gusau included Football development from the grassroots level as a major campaign promise. He made the campaign promise real on November 30, 2023 when he congregated Football Stakeholders in Abuja for the FIFA/NFF Talent Development Workshop. The gains of the Workshop shall be made manifest as soon as the Standards or Requirements for the Talent Development Scheme are mobilized for compliance. I will not dwell in details of this event. I had written earlier about the rebirth of Football in Nigeria. My reference to the Talent Development Scheme is relevant to the topic of the day which is a focus on Lynda Ekeopara: A silent Football Amazon from the South East. This is the ideal headline.

Why is Lynda regarded as a Football Amazon? She is a woman driven by passion for the beautiful game and unlimitedly compassionate about the indigent children in her community, Ihiagwa in Imo State.  Lynda decided five years ago to establish a Football Academy and Football Club which she named San Tonio Football Club. Named in honour of her father, Anthony and her son. San Tonio is in Portuguese. In another or unofficial way, you can call it Saint Anthony Football Club. Less of rhetoric, let me go to the point.

Through her passion and hardwork and using her hard earned resources, I witnessed the celebration of success within a period of Five years (2018-2023) at Ihiagwa, Imo State on November 29, 2023. I was her guest. I saw a Football Academy that renders verifiable Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to the host communities and beyond. The Academy has over Two Hundred boys and girls of different age categories. The anniversary celebration generated more interest from within and surrounding communities to the extent that more than two hundred boys and girls are on the waiting list to be admitted into the Academy. San Tonio FC is affiliated to the Imo State Football Association and to the FCT Football Association because of their plan to have their presence in the Federal Capital Territory soon.

When I asked Lynda if she has political ambition, she simply said that she was acting on divine direction to reach out to the less privileged in the society through Football. She looks forward to producing talented and world class players who will be national assets and blessings to many in the society.

I noticed that this Amazon, a Nigerian and Portuguese by nationality has been very influential even at international level to an extent. She was a member of FIFA Delegation to the Aisha Buhari CAF Cup that held in Lagos a few years ago. When I saw her international links and connections, I commended her and told her to also link up with the NFF and the Imo State Football Association so that grassroots Football development in Nigeria as it's been planned by the NFF will be enhanced by her contributions. Please bring Arsene Wenger and others within your capacity to facilitate, I told her.

I have taken my time to talk about Lynda Ekeopara. It's deliberate because we have many more of her types within Nigeria and others scattered globally. It's time to identify them and encourage them. The Nigeria Football Academy environment is key to the development of Football in Nigeria. It is a good thing that the NFF President identified this very important segment (Talent Development Scheme) that is dear to my heart. Implementation is what we are waiting for. The pasture is green for grazing.

Finally, I commend the silent Amazon, Lynda Ekeopara, President/Founder of San Tonio Football Academy/Club for the very huge work she is doing in her community from the diaspora.
Salute to the silent Football Amazon. Continue with the good work.


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