Participants of the Abuja region of the 2017 COPA Coca-Cola secondary school football tournament had the opportunity to be schooled and motivated by ex-international, Victor Ikpeba, at the recently concluded COPA Coca-Cola Coaching Clinic in Abuja, ahead of the regional games to determine the team that will progress to Lagos for the National Finals.
The former African Footballer of the Year attended the training session designed by Coca-Cola to inspire to great success the budding football stars and stimulate a sustained passion in them for football as a potential career.
Ikpeba commended the initiative of bringing together COPA Coca-Cola players and ex-football internationals, adding that it is exciting to see these young boys showcase their talents.
â€œIt’s a privilege to be involved in Copa Coca-Cola for years now and it is exciting to be around once again to see how we can help develop these players, he said.â€
Ikpeba mentored the teams from Kano, Kaduna, Benue, and Niger, all of whom had emerged victorious from the grassroots phase of the tournament and progressed to the regional stage in Abuja to contest for a spot at the national finals.
According to him, it is a great opportunity to catch them young. â€œAs a member of the Technical Committee of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, I see a pool of young talents coming from this initiative.Â We know that not everyone can make it through football but when an element of education combines with football, the outcome is phenomenal. For me, this is the innovativeness of the greatly appreciated and respected Copa Coca-Cola to development of football in Nigeria,â€ he remarked.
Senior Brand Manager in charge of Colas at Coca-Cola Nigeria, Soji Omoigui, while speaking on behalf of the brand, said Coca-Cola strongly believes in the potentials of Nigerian teens. â€œWe are aware that one of the greatest passion points of these teenagers is football so COPA Coca-Cola is a platform that provides sports education and development for them,â€ she said.
After the Coaching Clinic, round-robin games were played between the teams from Government Secondary School, Gwale, Kano; Christ Comprehensive College, Kaduna; Mbagwa Community Secondary School, Lessel, Benue; and Ndayako Day Secondary School Bida, Niger. The Kano boys emerged champions with the highest number of points from three matches.
In addition to identifying young talents across the country through the COPA Coca-Cola Under-15 football tournament, the Coaching Clinic is also offering the talented footballers the rare opportunity to be guided into professional football career.Â Also, the platform gives qualifying young players an opportunity to meet with a legend of football and to be inspired and motivated by his life story.