Pepsi Football Academy, Nigeria, on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, kicked off an U-17 International Tournament to mark its 20th anniversary.
St Bede’s College of United Kingdom will play alongside other selected teams in the two-day championship which holds at the astro turf of the MKO Abiola Stadium Abeokuta. The teams include Pepsi Football Academy, River Lane Football Academy, Enugu and Oyo State Academicals, who won the NASCOM football completion last month.
However, organisers of the event said Nigeria’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, were invited for the championship but could not make it due to administrative reasons.
Iain Nelson, Consultant to Pepsi Football Academy, at a news conference in Lagos on Thursday, said that the past 20 years had been remarkable for the academy, as it had “made a real and significant difference to thousands of youngsters through our training centres across Nigeria.”
Nelson concluded by saying the Pepsi Academy has an elite list of former young players in the Academy who are currently plying their trade in big leagues in Europe and Africa. The players include Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, Elderson Echejile, Onyekachi Akpam, and Ejike Uzoenyi.
Head of Football Department at St. Bede’s College, David Legget, said they were delighted to be associated with Pepsi, as three youngsters from the Academy have been at the college to play and study.
“These students have been very good ambassadors of Pepsi Football Academy and Nigeria with excellent football skills and good behaviour,” Legget said.
Tosin Michael and Larry Egunjobi, both from the Pepsi Football Academy, are now playing professional football in Portugal and Spain respectively, after their two-year stint at St Bede’s, while Rilwanu Olugbode is currently at the college.
This international tournament, according to Nelson, will be used to select the next beneficiary of the Pepsi St. Bede’s College two-year scholarship for 2012/2013 academic session.