For the first time since its inception in 2002, the Little Wonders FC, a football team resident in the Nigerian Army 9 Brigade Command, Ikeja Cantonment, Maryland, Lagos has qualified for the Lagos State League. When the news of this success got to the Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. M. L. D. Saraso, he was so elated that he decided to give the team a surprise visit by Super Eagles and Nantes FC of France forward, Moses Simon who used to be a young player in the barracks and also a novelty match against popular Lagos team, 36 Lions FC.

The match which held despite the heavy rains last Sunday was played inside the Lt. Gen. T.Y. Buratai sports complex inside the barracks. The 60-minute-long football cracker packed with lots of frills and thrills ended 3-2 in favor of Little Wonders to the rapturous claps of the guests and the barracks community present.

The Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. Saraso noted: ‘the reason for this event is to encourage our barracks youth who are skilled in various fields. When they told me that they qualified to be in the Lagos State League I said this is good. They need to be encouraged so that they can go to the Nigeria National League. That is why I organized this friendly and brought someone who started like them to interact and play with them.’

‘I feel having someone who started from the same background to watch you play and join you to play and give you a pep talk will perhaps give you an encouragement that in some years, we would have many more names that we will celebrate.’

‘We will do this regularly. I will look for those who started in the barracks community to come and interact with our youths. And not only football. Any group that organize themselves to excel will get support.’

‘I advise youths in the barracks to continue to be disciplined. They should be models to other youths outside. The barracks is a community of discipline. Their parents belong to a discipline organization so they should borrow a leaf from their parents. They should not allow themselves to be limited by the barracks environment. They should dream higher, push harder, and think beyond’, the brigade commander charged youths within the community.

On his part, the special guest, Moses Simon who gave his club jerseys to Brig. Gen. Saraso also encouraged the two team with cash support and promotional sports kits, commended the two teams for a well-done job, putting up a good fight to achieve victory in the match.

Moses who joined the Little Wonders in the second half of the match to play against the 36 Lions FC added style and fun to the sporting event.

Speaking shortly after the match, told the team, ‘I was once like you in the barracks struggling and pushing so hard and now you can see the results.’

‘It is good to be a football player. You are not a criminal. Have faith in yourself. Trust in God. It is good to push and push hard. Listen to your coach. Be disciplined.’

He commended the Brigade Commander of 9 Brigade Command for the invitation. ‘Thank you for the invitation. It is a honour and privilege. Thank you for helping the young boys to grow. I feel so happy to be honored here.’

It is of note that footballers like Wilfred Ndidi, Ojo Adebayo, Candy Augustine, Emmanuel Jonathan, and Monday Yakubu have also emerged out of the barracks in Maryland, Lagos.

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