BIRTHDAY GREETINGS TO CHARLEAN ADEKUNLE RAJI (aka KANTARA)
On behalf of SCOBA, the Central Executive Council congratulates Charlean Adekunle Raji a.k.a Kantara (Past Chairman, Stanza 789).
Today's birthday boy lived his early years in Ghana, was admitted into St. Charles' in September 1974 and completed his secondary education therefrom in June 1979. Thereafter, he attended Obafemi Awolowo University and obtained a degree in Physical and Health Education.
His mandatory NYSC was at Jos International Breweries, *JIB Rock Strikers, Jos, as Organising Officer/Trainer* before proceeding abroad (precisely Boston, Massachusetts, USA) for further studies, dovetailing into his postgraduate degree in Sports Administration.
OTHER WORK/PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
African-American Institute, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA - Sports Programs Coordinator
New England Patriots, Foxboro, MA, USA - Special Project Assistant to the General Manager
Centre for the Study of Sports in Society, Boston, MA - Project Director, TEAM WORK South Africa
Institute for International Sports, Rhode Island, USA - Associate Director
World Scholar Athlete Games: Chief Administrator, Nigeria Volleyball Project (NVP)
Varsity Soccer ((1981-1985)
Won All-Nigerian University Games (NUGA) Soccer Championship Medals (1982 and 1984);
Secretary, Constitution Review Committee (1983-1984) for NAPHER;
President, NAPHER (1984-1985)
HONOURS & AWARDS
- University of Ife Full Sports Honours (1982 and 1984);
- Director's Award for Outstanding Community Leadership and Service, African-American Institute (1990);
- Distinguished Service Award, The African-American Institute (1991);
- Official Citation of Recognition, Massachusetts State Senate (1991);
- Official Citation of Recognition, Massachusetts House of Representatives, City of Boston in City Council (1991);
- African Immigrant Achievement Award, presented by the Ethiopian Family Centre, Boston, MA, USA (1991);
Kantara is one Nigerian who believes so much in Nigeria, hence his return home, the many opportunities staring him in the face in the US not withstanding.
St. Charles' football or soccer history and exploits will not be complete without mentioning KANTARA's
valuable inputs on the field of play and in administration. St. Charles'
soccer artistry in Osogbo, the then Western State (and later the old Oyo State) started gaining prominence when the crop of players like Kantara, Tokos (Tokunbo Gboyega), Mufu Fadare, Jonathan Ferire Eminokaju, Ignatius Ubah, Manasseh, Idowu Oketunji formed the fulcrum of the school's football team.
Kantara was Captain of the victorious Principal's Cup winning School football team of 1978 in the old Oyo State (they were and are still fondly called 'CHARLIE, CHARLIE ARGENTINA' in reference to St. Charles' lifting the Principal's Cup for the first time ever and Argentina winning the World Cup in the same year (no Set has equalled that feat in St. Charles' to date). He was also the Games Prefect of the School in the 1978/1979 academic session.
Kantara's mesmerising moves on the field play (alongside the torchline, dazzling runs of Jonathan Ferire Eminokaju and the scintillating soccer artistry and scoring prowess of Mufu Fadare) attracted Nigeria's great footballers of that period (Segun Odegbami, Late Best Ogedegbe, Idowu Otubusin etc) to him and St. Charles' in those days. In fact, St. Charles' became a MECCA of some sort, to which these stars paid weekly pilgrimages.
To date, Charlean Kunle Raji (Kantara) still maintains that cordial relationship with Big Sheg (as Segun Odegbami is known in football circles). Kantara is a founding member of THE PARLIAMENT (a Sport Discussion programme) on NTA Network Service at 11pm every Thursday, of which Segun Odegbami is Speaker.
To the larger Nigerian society, his accomplishments are legendary. He has contributed significantly to the affairs of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF, formerly NFA) and Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF). He coordinated a trip (undertaken by a US National Basketball Association - NBA - delegation to South Africa) in August 1993, the first of such trips by an American Sports body since sports boycott sanction was imposed on the apartheid regime in that country in the 1970s. The delegation, led by NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Players Association Executive Director Charles Grantham, included 25 Executives, Players and Coaches from the League. The group conducted basketball clinics in Soweto, Durban and townships around Pretoria. Nelson Mandela hosted a dinner to honor the delegation. That trip officially marked the end of American sports boycott of South Africa and afforded him and his team the opportunity to meet and enlist the support of the irrepressible Icon. He also organized the first privately-promoted, commercial, ticket-based football match at the National Stadium, Lagos.
As a Consultant to the Nigerian Basketball Federation, he has facilitated various sponsorships of basketball matches and mentorship programs for the promotion of basketball in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. Kantara also promoted the development of football at secondary and tertiary levels of education through corporate funding and other sponsorships. He organized as well, the well-acclaimed TARIBO & FRIENDS International Charity match that drew record crowd to the National Stadium.
It is also on record that Kantara provided marketing services for the NFA for the France 1998 World Cup.
- Member, Committee for the Resuscitation of School Sports in Nigeria (2001);
- Member, Nigeria 2010 (Soccer) World Cup Bid Management Committee (2003);
- Member, Special Task Force on Basketball, African Nations Cup in Libya (2009);
He is currently the Managing Director of Global Sports Concepts
CEC notes that Kantara's prominent elder brother also attended St. Charles': that is our Past President, US based Charlean Adewale Raji a.k.a KAWAWA (Stanza 715)....egbon is KAWAWA, aburo is KANTARA....a subject of research you will call this.
Charlean Adekunle Raji (Kantara) is one person playing several roles within Stanza 789:
- he is a Past Chairman of the Stanza
- he is a strong financial member
- he is a 'Kingmaker' of some sort to Stanza 789, a silent but ever working INEC man, always ensuring that the right people are enthroned to key Stanza 789 positions all through the decades.
- he is a peacemaker, who breaks naughty deadlocks, notable in human relationships and organizations.
Charlean Adekunle Raji is married to Mrs. Mosun Raji (Miya) and the union is blessed with two beautiful daughters.
Kantara is an unrepentant Arsenal fan. We join Katara's family, Stanza 789, friends and associates in wishing him a happy birthday and many happy returns of the day in good health, wonderful & successful exploits and longer life.
Happy birthday, Kantara!