17 June 2016, Lagos – Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), on Friday restated the company’s readiness to support the development football at the grassroots.
Okunbor made the assertion at the final of 18th Shell Cup, an annual national football tournament, sponsored by the company for secondary schools at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The yearly competition is sponsored by SPDC in partnership with Agip, Total and Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
The competition is organised starting from the group stage to the zonal qualifiers and national round up before the knockout stages.
Excel Education Centre, Port Harcourt defeated Fosla Academy Kurkushi, Abuja 3-2 to emerge champions of this year’s competition played on Thursday in Lagos.
The SPDC managing director said that the company would continue to support the competition because of its belief in youth development and education.
“We will continue to lend our unflinching support towards youth development in a competition like this, while we expect the students to be diligent in their studies.
“We expect the students to display high level of discipline and fair play and always abide by the rule while we also support their endeavours,’’ he said.
Also, Segun Odegbami, Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide Sport, and Coordinator of the competition, said the tournament had achieved its objectives of developing youths at the grassroots.
“The standard was very high and I am very happy for that. “We did not have problem in terms of age cheating and the rules of the competition were well kept to by the schools.
“At first, I don’t have any expectations from the competition; I just want the school boys to have the same opportunity.
“Competitions like this will give equal opportunities to all our young ones and bring the desired change in youth development.
“We also want them to continue with their education which is the key to any achievement in life because I am also a product of developmental programme like this,’’ he said.
Odegbami added that the organisers were happy with the level of participation across the federation and the fair play displayed during the games.
“I am happy seeing great goals and dedication from these lads, the talents in the schools was impressive and their coaches are also grassroots-based.
“A lot of commitments and hard work has been displayed here and we will also help by visiting the winners in their schools to ascertain the kind of help they may need.
“We will nurture them to the desired level and give them the kind of exposure they need, some deserve to be in the U-17 Eaglets, they are potential football stars,’’ he said.
The Proprietor of Fosla Academy Kurkushi, runners-up at the competition, Sani Toro, said his desire for football development at the grassroots prompted the establishment of the school.
Toro, former President of the defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA), said he had passion for age grade competition; hence, he would do anything humanly possible to assist the less privileged.
“I started the school about five years ago obviously to develop the young ones both academically and in their respective sporting activities.
“This is the product of the programme conceived within those five years. I am involved in this, and if the students can continue in this manner, they will make great professionals.
“I am proud of the boys’ achievement within this short period and also the organisers of the event that did a great job and I also pray for the development of football.
“The students in my school are monitored right from their respective primary schools and I personally supervise the recruitment of some of them,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Shell Cup is aimed at developing grassroots football and discovering young talents among secondary school students. It is noteworthy that both finalists are debutants in the competition but made their way to the final through determination and courage.
Excel Education Centre played its preliminaries and emerged champions in the South-South Zone, while Fosla Academy had theirs in North-Central Zone.
The Best Player of the tournament went to Solomon Fatinukun from Asegun Comprehensive School, Ibadan, while Tari Joseph from Excel Education, Abuja was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Also, Abraham Solomon of Fosla Academy, Abuja, emerged the Highest Goal Scorer with seven goals, while Ismail Hammed emerged the Best Midfielder.
However, in line with the competition’s policy of rewarding outstanding players in the tournament, two players were given scholarships to continue with their studies in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Two outstanding players will benefit from the partnership between SPDC and Rotterdam Football Academy, courtesy Ferynord Football Club of Holland.
The two beneficiary of the scholarship are Joseph Ejeh from Fosla Academy and Kelvin Amadi from Excel Academy, Centre Port Harcourt. NAN reports that cash prizes of N2.5 million, N1.4 million, were presented to the 1st, 2nd, winners. Each student in the final was also awarded cash of N50,000. (NAN)