The mood at the car parking lot is calm. It is past five o’clock and people are getting ready to go home for the day. But not everyone. It takes only a few moments strolling past cars to note something unusual. Some are picking up soccer gears. They were headed to the Staff Faculty Football League.
For many in Yola, soccer (football, as the beautiful game is better known locally and nationally) provides an opportunity to let off emotion, to relieve the pressures of everyday life and the stress of economic depression. The SFFL is a soccer tournament for all staff and faculty members in AUN committed to promoting good health and friendly competitiveness. Inspired by Karin & Renaldo Rheeder to foster teamwork and intelligent interactions, the league resumes this afternoon (February 10). Master Mohammed, a goalkeeper, said last year’s matches gave him time to bond with his colleagues. “We ran, hit, learned, sweated, and bled together as a team," he said.
Last year’s winning team, Facilities & Construction, will battle against teams Student Affairs, OTDS, Finance & HR, AUN Academy, Faculty & Cafeteria, and the President's Office in whatever form it emerges. AUN’s SFFL extends an invitation to every single staff and faculty member regardless of rank or hierarchy. Last season saw professors play with and against chefs from the Cafeteria to the delight of spectators. This is wonderful example of the ethos we are all building at AUN.
Facilities & Construction will be looking to defend their crown having won six out of seven matches and conceding only three goals en route to the title last season. They will need their robust defense in top form if they are to succeed again this year.
Last year’s runners-up, Student Affairs, will have to perform better offensively if they are to be contenders this year. “We are in pretty good shape and there is confidence throughout the squad,” says midfield maestro, Azeez Haruna.
Faculty & Cafeteria will need star player Vincent Obi to stay fit and clear of injuries. His great work rate and explosive ball possession will be pivotal to the team’s chances. “Failure is not an option,” says team Captain Emmanuel “Oscar” Peters.
OTDS, AUN Academy, and Finance & HR lost vital points last year due to inconsistencies and low fitness levels. They will need to have more variety in their build-up plays to go far this season. Finance & HR central defender Ndubuisi Ndukwe says his team is “itching to set the record straight this season.”
President’s Office will need to improve in all areas. To excel this season the team has to utilize the blazing speed and tenacious work ethic of star winger, Jideofor Madu.
This season promises to be special and full of surprises. Every win, every loss, every tie, every shutout, no matter what, will be an unforgettable experience.
League preview by Chisom Madu