L-R: Head Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Bank, Diran Olojo, Liverpool FC legend & Ambassador, Didi Hamann and Regional Head of Corporate Affairs, Africa of the bank, Dan Mobley, during a two days soccer clinic organised by Standard Chartered Bank for kids in different age-group in Lagos
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Visiting former Liverpool FC of England player, Hamann Dietmar, has said that Nigeria’s football can be on the raise again if managers of the game go the extra mile to comb for quality players from the abundant talents in the country.
Dietman, fondly called Didi in his playing days with the Reds was sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank to Lagos along with other coaches from Anfield to conduct a football clinic for kids at the Italian International School in Lekki.
While remembering Nigeria’s glory days in the round leather game with such players as Rashidi Yekini, Austin Jay Jay Okocha and Finidi George as his favourite players, Didi said Liverpool’s partnership with the Standard Chartered Bank will help kids develop interests in football.
“When I played in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, Jay Jay Okocha was a household name in Germany. It was the same with Finidi in Holland with Ajax. Nigeria had great players,” recalled the former Germany international.
He cherished the trip to Lagos to help groom kids in the game.
“Since we came into town, we have observed that Nigerians are very friendly people and the kids here for the clinic are also showing the type of enthusiasm needed to wake up their interests in the game. We love working with kids because they are the future of the game,” observed Didi who scored Liverpool’s first kick in the penalty shoot out that earned the Reds their historic 2005 UEFA Champions League victory over AC Milan.
Although he was suffering a broken toe during that final, Didi’s substitution for Steve Finnan at half time was the catalyst for Liverpool's historic fight-back. The team rallied after being 3–0 down to bring the game back to 3–3 and finally won in the penalty shootout.
Head of Corporate Affairs of Standard Chartered Bank, Diran Olojo, confirmed that the bank was hopeful of sustaining the partnership with Liverpool on the clinic for kids.
“We at Standard Chartered Bank love football the same way Nigerians love the game. We also know that the big four of the Premiership, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are the favourites of football fans here. We are hoping to make this clinic for kids an annual event with our partners, Liverpool,” stressed the bank’s spokesman.
Students of Onitolo High School in Surulere and Ajeromi Grammar School in Ajegunle were also listed to benefit from the football clinic.