The Pepsi Football Academy Anniversary Tournament
Iain Nelson’s Address, Airport Hotel, Ikeja, 26th July 2012
On behalf of Pepsi and the Pepsi Football Academy may I welcome everyone to this brief media conference.
Especially may I thank our media friends.....not least for the interest, support and coverage that many of you have given to the Pepsi Football Academy over the years.
Additionally, we have some other very welcome guests present....many of whom have been In Nigeria for around only 15 hours....having arrived last night on Air Nigeria from London Gatwick.
So please extend a very warm welcome to the St. Bede’s School football squad from Sussex, England.
Those of you who might have been following Pepsi and the Pepsi Football Academy’s initiatives in support of football development in Nigeria over the years will not be surprised that we are today welcoming a school football team from England, here in Nigeria.
To my knowledge, St. Bede’s are probably the first football squad from a school in England to travel to compete in a football competition in Nigeria....it matters not if I am right or not with this possibility....what does matter is that they are here and are honouring our invitation to participate in our Pepsi Football Academy anniversary tournament.
As I am sure you will appreciate....back in the UK, the ‘security’ issues in Nigeria do get quite a bit of media coverage and are of great concern. That’s why we really do thank St. Bede’s, the headmaster, the parents of these young men along with David Leggett and his staff colleagues for honouring our invitation from the Pepsi Football Academy.
We all know that Nigeria will make them very welcome and that they will have unforgettable and very happy memories of their visit.
So, why are the football team from St. Bede’s here in Nigeria?
Given the merchandising material around....I guess it’s quite obvious that the Pepsi Football Academy is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!
Since then, over these 20 years, I know that the Pepsi Football Academy has made a real and significant difference to thousands of youngsters through our training centres across Nigeria.
Some of our young players have succeeded in progressing their careers as professional footballers [Mikel, Osaze, Apam, Elderson to name some].....as importantly, the majority of our students, whether or not they have progressed their careers as footballers, have certainly benefitted from their time and experience of being a Pepsi Football Academy student.
For all of this wonderful opportunity provided to so many talented youngsters....we thank Coach Laloko and the 50 plus coaches involved in the Pepsi Football Academy across the country.
We do have some great “20th Anniversary” events planned over the months ahead....and we will be sharing these details with our media colleagues in due course.
This, the Pepsi Football Academy 20th Anniversary tournament marks the start of our celebrations and again we thank St. Bede’s for participating.
The winner of the St. Bede’s school scholarship, Rilwan Olugbode, is here with us, having just completed his first year at St. Bede’s.
May I say that he should be playing for the Pepsi Football Academy team over the next few days, but David Leggett is claiming him for St. Bede’s!
Having mentioned the PFA UK scholarship program....so far 10 of our boys have obtained such scholarships.
Indeed, our first PFA UK scholarship, back in 2007, was offered by St. Bede’s and was awarded to Tosin Michael who is now playing professionally in Portugal, so too is Larry Egunjobi, our 2nd PFA St. Bede’s scholarship student
Finally, staying on our PFA UK scholarship project....an added feature of our PFA 20th Anniversary Tournament at Abeokuta over the days ahead is the selection of the MVP of the Pepsi Football Academy team and his award of a 2 year scholarship to Brooke House College in the UK.
Thank you for your support and for being with us on our journey towards helping the development of today’s youth and Nigeria’s future stars.
Thursday 26th July 2012
Pepsi Football Academy 20th Anniversary Tournament