The 2017 edition of Coca-Colaâ€™s grassroots sports initiative, COPA Coca-Cola has officially kicked off with over 100,000 teens registered by the Nigerian School Sport Federation, NSSF, across 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Football is more than just a game; it is a passion that a lot of teens connect with because of the emotion and excitement that is associated with it. Football gives them an identity and a chance to learn leadership skills. When they play, they give everything for the game. They sweat; push hard on the pitch and give their all. What better way to encourage their passion, than to provide them with a platform that helps them harness their skills in the game while also rewarding their passion for the game,â€ Cletus Onyebuoha, Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola, stated.
It is an open secret how growth of Nigerian football has been hindered by lack of commitments to grassroots development. At the moment, the country has an insignificant number of football academies in the country to nurture several hidden talents. There is also very little being done in offering proper initiatives that would encourage the interest of young people in the sport, which explains why the country continues to lose so many young talents.
Over the years, COPA Coca-Cola has made huge difference in the lives of many young people, by connecting and engaging teens with the prospect of attaining their football dreams whilst also encouraging them to bond, form new friendships and acquire significant social skills through team involvement.
In this yearâ€™s edition of the tournament themed â€œCOPA Coca-Cola Gives You More,â€ participation has been expanded to 5,000 schools across the 36 states of the federation including the FCT, Abuja, a quantum leap from the 2016 games which had 3,000 secondary schools from 32 states.
Furthermore, the beverage giant has stepped up on the reward for players by introducing an Education Trust Fund worth N22 million for each player that makes it to the top three positions. â€œAt the national level, players in the top three teams and the top schools will benefit from an education trust fund totaling N22 million as well as cash prizes totaling N2 million respectively. There is also the golden boot for highest goal scorer, plaque for MVP, Golden gloves for best goal keeper and a trophy for the national winner,â€ Onyebuoha d.
He noted that the Education Trust Fund was included to cater for their educational needs just so to ensure that they are better prepared for their future.â€
There is also the promise of football pitch makeovers worth over five million naira in total, for the winning team in all the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Certainly these are the best of times for Nigerian teens to take advantage of the competition, enjoy the best of football experience which COPA Coca-Cola offers as well as get rewarded for their football passion.