On Saturday, the United States Consulate General in Lagos staged Africa’s first drone soccer competition in partnership with the Global Air Drone Academy and the Lagos State Ministry of Education.
In the fiercely contested game, eight girl-led teams were chosen from 71 student teams from public high schools in Lagos Education District 1’s Agege, Alimosho, and Ifako Ijaiye neighborhoods.
The tournament was won by the Pace Setters Team from Ijaiye Housing Estate Senior Grammar School.
Alisgrams Team from Alimosho Senior Grammar School and Alpha Team from Abesan Senior High School took second and third place positions respectively.
The top three teams in the Drone Soccer Competition each received a prize of a $1,500 STEM lab for their schools.
U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli, speaking at the tournament’s grand finale, emphasized the relevance of STEM education to Nigeria’s future prosperity and economic competitiveness.
The event, he continued, was created to give children with high-quality technology learning opportunities and to pique their interest in math and science, as well as STEM-related vocations.
“We are ecstatic to be partnering with the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the Global Air Drone Academy to not only bring practical, hands-on STEM education to the Lagos school district but also to give representing schools the opportunity to show off their STEM skills in drone soccer, the world’s newest sport,” Ibelli said.
One of the program’s main goals, according to Eno Umoh, Co-founder of the Global Air Drone Academy in the United States, was to educate impoverished communities, particularly young girls, about the effect they may have in STEM disciplines.
“We are ecstatic to be at the forefront of Africa’s newest burgeoning e-sport.” Drones are a fun and inventive way to encourage students to pursue higher education and employment.
The drone soccer competition was a follow-up to a series of drone technology and innovation events.
In 2021, the Lagos Education District 1 hosted a STEM program for 500 pupils and a capacity-building workshop for 50 instructors on effective approaches to teaching STEM subjects.
Drone Soccer is the world’s newest e-sport, in which players use flying quadcopters to play full-contact soccer in protective plastic exoskeletons. In 2018, the World Air Sports Federation (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) sanctioned Drone Soccer as the only educational robotics competition that is also an international sport.