By Ferdinand Beshel, Abuja
Eaglet Football Club, Yan-Lemo Maraba was named in honour the Nigerian Golden Eaglets for their exploits in FIFA Cadet World Cups over the years. Established in 2003 by Chairman of the orange market in Maraba, Alhaji Ibrahim Yan Lemo, the club’s name was also chose to inspire its young players to aim for stardom like the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.
In founding the club, Alhaji Yan Lemo’s intention was to foster unity among the traders and those living around the market, irrespective of their ethnic and religious background. The club was also formed so that youths in the area could have a platform to develop their football talents.
The club’s playing ground, which belongs to the state government, is located at One Man Village behind Unity Bank in Karu Local Government.
“The club philosophy is to catch the players when they are very young and nurture them in other to produce the next crop of star players in the Nigerian professional league and for the national teams,” says the team’s sweat merchant, Coach Mabo.
He added: “The club enforces discipline among its 40 players on and off the field and vices like drinking, smoking, brawling, gambling and thuggery are not condoned. Any of this infraction attracts severe sanction.”
Eaglet Football Club enjoys the strong support of the market leaders like the chairmen of the tomatoes sellers, the tipper garage, other football-loving traders and parents in its community. Its activities are also funded by the individual contributions of the team’s handlers and players.
Although it is currently a non-league playing club, Coach Mabo has set his sight high for his team. “We aspire to go for play-off that will qualify us to play in the Nigerian Nationwide League Division 2 next Season. With about 10,000 supporters, behind the club, we shall excel,” he told The Dream Daily.
“We have so far trained players to the NNL Club Katsina. Some of our players are currently on trials with some big clubs this season and we pray for their success. Our aim in the near future is to compete in the domestic league organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). As a grassroots football club, we have no trophy yet in our kitty but we have participated in many competitions where we got to the semi-final stage with three of our players topping the goal scoring charts,” he added.