By Eric Elezuo
The capacity crowd that turned out at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium in mainland Bauchi over the weekend to witness a novelty football between the Dallaji All Stars and Bauchi All Stars was just a testimony in the acceptance of young, agile and philanthropic entrepreneur, Noah Dallaji, and the fact that young people are willing to take a cue from their wave making idols in the creativity business, football most importantly.
As a result, the Dallaji Football Talent Hunt, put together by African Children Talent Development Foundation (ACTDF) under there leadership of the Chairman, Noah Dallaji, was a carnival of some sort as big names in African soccer turned out in Mass to give credence to the project.
It was therefore a melting point of football stars, Nollywood actors, artists and many other celebrities, who stormed the Pearl of Tourism city for the much advertised Noah Dallaji Football Talent Hunt show, a part of the Dallaji Legacy Project.
The amiable philanthropist, Noah Dallaji, arrived the city to the waiting hands of a crowd of joyful locals, who welcomed him with acrobatic dance steps and warm local songs.
Among celebrities in the entourage were ex-super eagles including Daniel Amokachi, Nwankwo Kanu, Garba Lawal, Emmanuel Babayaro, Tijani Babangida, and Joseph Yobo.
Others were Nollywood practitioners including Francis Duru, Mr P of former PSquare, Kaffy, Ozo of BBNaija, notable media personalities and a host of others.
Setting off the activities, the entourage visited the Palace of the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, to pay homage.
Speaking before the huge crowd at the Emir’s palace, Mr Dallaji informed the Emir that his talent development project is one of the best things that has happened to Bauchi, promising that it has come to stay. He noted that young Nigerians need constant mentorship to bring to the fore their God given talents, and as such he was poised to fill in that gap. He further postulated that the project is not a one off thing, but will exist on a continuous basis and spread throughout the nation with Bauchi as the stepping stone.
Responding, the Emir described Dallaji as Peace loving with a noble personality, and expressed his happiness at having a whole generation of Nigerian footballers in his palace all at the same time.
Thereafter, Dallaji presented a legacy project jersey, assisted by Daniel Amokachi, marked number one, to the Emir, in the presence of Prof Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, son of Nigeria’s former Prime Minister.
The entourage afterwards headed to the Tafawa Balewa Stadium where a huge crowd of supporters were already seated, awaiting the arrival of the stars for the football tournament.
The first match of the day was between the Dallaji teams from Abuja and Bauchi. The game ended goalless.
And then the big one.
Songstress, Waje, set the ball rolling with the soulful rendition of the national anthem, supported by the ever vibrant Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club
Representing the Dallaji side were Halilu Fadiga from Senegal, Romana Lua Lua, Stephen Appia of Ghana, Nwankwo Kanu, Daniel Amokachi, Tijani Babangida, Garba Lawal, Emmanuel Emenike, Emmanuel Babayaro, Taribo West, Austin JJ Okocha, Austin Equavoen, Sunday Mba, Noah Dallaji, who captained the team, and Mr P of the defunct PSquare.
After a scintillating 90 minutes encounter, played under floodlight, and with commentaries by dance merchant, Kaffy, the Dallaji All Stars emerged victorious with two goals from Atlanta Olympic gold medalist, Nwankwo Kanu and Halilu Fadiga.
The evening was rounded off with performances by Mr P and Ricardo Bank
The former Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Isa Yuguda, was the special guests of honour. Also in attendance was the energetic former rested NFA scribe, Alhaji Sani Toro.
Speaking separately to The Boss, the coordinators of the activities, Emmanuel Babayaro and Daniel Amokachi, said there’s yet nothing like the Dallaji initiated project legacies, especially using football as a frontliner.
Photos: Michael Patrick Nnamdi