29 Maay 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The NNPC/Shell Cup football competition for secondary schools reached its seventeenth year in 2015.
This milestone year ended with Rochas Okorocha Foundation College, Ogboko, Imo State, emerging winners of the 2015 cup, after defeating Government Day Secondary School, Gwale Kano by 2-1 inside the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The football competition which was initiated in 1998 by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners, focuses on reducing the number of boys who abandon their education in pursuit of a football career.
Speaking at the game, the Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Joseph Dawha, noted that the championship “seeks to promote education and sports in Nigerian secondary schools. A sound person must be fit in body and mind, and over the years participation in this competition has shown that our students can attain academic excellence while pursuing their passion for sports.”
He added that since the inception of the NNPC/Shell Cup in 1998, more than 700,000 youths have participated in the championship. “We are proud to note that some of the footballers that started here have gone ahead to play for the national team and international club sides,” he added.
“Combining sports with education is the main objective of the NNPC/Shell Cup. I am happy to say that this has been achieved by the sustained efforts of SPDC, our joint venture partners and the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation” said the SPDC General Manager, Gas, Ubaka Emelumadu, who represented the SPDC MD/ Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, at the 2015 Finals.
Rabiu Abdul of the Ministry of Education, Kano, has attended NNPC Shell Cup finals for 17 years. Speaking on his motivation for attending the competitions, the former games master who has coached several primary and secondary schools in Kano since the 80’s said, “I attend the finals of the competition, even when the schools I coordinate do not qualify. I always like the progress of youths, and I appreciate the effort that Shell and NNPC are putting into youth development through sports.
He added that, “The competition has achieved great success in motivating youths to take their education seriously while chasing a football career. In Kano, students are motivated to come to school, simply because they know it’s a criterion to participate in the NNPC/Shell Cup”
This year, Gido Vader, Melvin Boel and former Super Eagle’s Mike Obiku from the renowned Feyenoord Academy were on ground to provide coaching clinics for semi-finalists. The partnership with Feyenoord Academy which began in 2014 is one of the ways the SPDC JV is improving the experience of students.
“Feyenoord Academy is one the most successful youth academies in the world and SPDC and its joint venture partners are pleased to be working with it to bring world-class coaching and player development expertise to Nigeria,” said Igo Weli, General Manager Sustainable Development and Community Relations, SPDC, during a media chat.
NNPC/Shell Cup has recorded many gains.
He explained that in the past 17 years, the competition has helped discover untapped potential, nurturing them into talented players, while keeping them in school. Champions like Super Eagles star Ejike Uzoenyi, and Under-17 World Cup winner, Akinjide Idowu are a few examples of national and international players who emerged from the competition.