*L-R (above): Chief Adegboyega Onigbinde, Mr. Femi Mokikan, ED, Human Resources of Seven Up Bottling Company Plc., Dr. Kenku Tandor, Director of Sports, Lagos State and NFF Technical Director, Amodu Shuaibu at the Pepsi Football Academy Gala Night held in Lagos on Saturday. In the second picture; the award winners pose with Iain Nelson, the Consultant, Pepsi football Academy during the gala night held at Lagos Airport Hotel Ikeja, to mark the end of the Pepsi Festival of Youth. –
Former Super Eagles Coach and CAF Instructor, Chief Adegboyega Onigbinde, says Nigeria can only take her pride of place in the comity of great footballing nations by winning the FIFA World Cup at senior level if emphasis is shift from competitions to development.
He therefore commended Pepsi Football Academy for being at the fore of football development in Nigeria in the past 21 years.
Onigbinde made the statement during the finals of this year’s Pepsi Festival of Youth in Lagos at the weekend, a football competition among different age grades in the Academy drawn from across the 14 training centres in Nigeria.
According to him, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, should establish a department to monitor and set standards for all football academies in Nigeria to ensure that the right personnel and course content are in place.
Coach Onigbinde recommended the Pepsi Football Academy model of taking on youngsters as early as age five and having a football college that combines academic and football curricula.
Speaking on why Pepsi has sustained the Academy in the past 21 years, the Executive Director, Human Resources, Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc, Mr. Femi Mokikan said the football academy project is in tandem with the mission of the organisation, which is ‘to refresh and inspire youthful lifestyle’.
He identified sports, especially football as one of the ways of inspiring young people to harness their talent for the good of themselves and the society at large.
At the gala night held at Lagos Airport Hotel Ikeja to round off the activities of the Pepsi Festival of Youth, Chairman of Lagos State Football Association, Mr. Seyi Akinwunmi and Director of Sports, Dr. Kenku Tandor pledged to offer the necessary assistance to sustain the dream of the Pepsi Football Academy which has been using the Agege Township Stadium Lagos as its base since 1994.