WAKEFIELD TRINITY have joined Leeds Rhinos in adopting a Nigerian Rugby League club based in Lagos, a MegaCity with more than 8 million people in its population.
Eko Trinity will be based in Surulere, a suburb of Lagos, with a larger population than the entire Wakefield district.
And while Wakefield Trinity have enjoyed positive Stadium news back home in England, Eko Trinity will be playing their games at the Teslim Balogun Stadium which houses 24,500 at capacity.
Nigeria is a country in extreme poverty with almost 50% of the 180 million population of the nation living in such poverty.
Through Project Eko we hope to raise the aspirations of Nigerians, male and female, through the power of sport and, in particular, Rugby League.
The Young Trustees of Wakefield Trinity Community Trust will work with the Nigerian Community of Wakefield to introduce them to the sport whilst also raising valuable funds to enable them to deliver vital work in Lagos.
During their visit to Surulere they will attend schools and communities, hosting training clinics for people of all ages alongside the players of Eko Trinity.
Community Trust General Manager, Craig Shepherd, said; “There is a real opportunity to take Rugby League to an African nation that prioritises sport and given the athleticism of rugby league, I’m optimistic that the community in Lagos will get behind Eko Trinity and turn out in numbers.
“Our Young Trustees will work hard on Project Eko to raise the aspirations of young people in Lagos and the local Nigerian Community here in Wakefield and surrounding regions.”
“Who knows, through our work in Nigeria we could see one or two players earning an opportunity to play at a higher level here in the UK. If that’s not exciting, I’m not sure what is.”
SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA
Ade Adebisi, a former Rugby League player in the UK, has been leading the charge for Nigeria Rugby League globally and is in talks with several other professional clubs across the globe in relation to adopting further teams.
Adebisi, who has fought the disease sickle cell anaemia all his life is using the power of Rugby League to raise awareness and in discussions to link up with a major Nigerian company to help tackle the issue as part of the new League.
He said, “The partnerships with professional clubs are fantastic and we are really excited to partner with Wakefield Trinity and others. Our focus as an organisation, alongside Rugby League, is on raising awareness of early detection for Sickle Cell Anaemia.”
“We are currently engaging with a global company that is supplying a medical diagnostic device, the first of its kind, to test SCA that is rapid, accurate and can be used in low resource environments such as Nigeria.”
“The support of Wakefield Trinity in relation to our goals is very much appreciated and we look forward to working with them closely on the journey to establishing Nigerian Rugby League.”