Kwara State Football Association, Kwara FA, appears to have made history in the Nigerian Premier Football League, NPFL, after introducing child mascots or player escorts into the opening ceremonies of all league matches played at the Kwara State Stadium.
Kwara United returned to playing on their home turf in Ilorin after match day two encounter with Abia Warriors which they won.
Opening funfair saw the introduction of child mascots which was a novelty in the state and the NPFL, sending the stadium into a frenzy of excitement.
Last Sunday’s match at home with Rangers International, Enugu also features the ceremony signifying that the practice has come to stay.
Speaking on the new introduction, Alh. Idris Abdullahi Musa, aka Thuraya, FA Chairman, Kwara State said that it is one of those innovations that Kwarans and Nigerians will be seeing coming from matches played at the state stadium.
“The match between Kwara United and Rangers made it the second time we played with the mascot kids accompanying the players.
“It’s an innovation we hope to sustain in all matches played in Kwara,” the FA boss said.
Children mascot, match mascot or player escorts are kids who accompany football players entering the pitch.
Player escorts hold hands with the footballer while they walk in and stay with the player during the playing of the national anthem.
The children are usually between 6 and 18 years old.
In addition to assisting players, they often have duties such as carrying flags, helping the sideline ball crew and playing matches with each other.
Thuraya, for the innovation which is first in the NPFL, says that he intends it to always remind players that they should always see themselves as role models which the children look up to.
“Child Mascots are also ambassadors of peace because their youth represents innocence and peace as FIFA intended them to be,” the FA. Chairman said.