At a media briefing held at the Elomaz Hotel, Maryland, Lagos on Wednesday 16th April, 2008, Pepsi and the Pepsi Football Academy confirmed a further major initiative:
THE PEPSI ACADEMY LEAGUE
The media briefing, which was extremely well attended by the sports media, was addressed by both Kasimawo Laloko [PFA Director] and Iain Nelson [PFA Consultant]
A short summary of Iain Nelson's address follows:
"On behalf of Pepsi and the Pepsi Football Academy may we welcome and thank you for the tremendous coverage you give to our efforts at the Pepsi Football Academy.
- Committed to the development of today's youth and Nigeria's future stars, the Pepsi Football Academy is now in its 16th year and is Nigeria's largest and most successful grass roots initiative.
- With the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Nigeria 2009 in mind, Pepsi and the Pepsi Football Academy are initiating THE PEPSI ACADEMY LEAGUE towards identifying the academy's best U-17 players.
- The first phase of the league will involve all the Pepsi Football Academy training centres across Nigeria competing in 4 Groups of 4 teams in each group.
GROUP A [South West 1]
Lagos 1, Ibadan, Lagos 3, Abeokuta
GROUP B [East/Midwest]
Aba, Enugu, Owerri, Benin
GROUP C [North]
Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Abuja
GROUP D [South West 2]
Sagamu, Ilorin, Lagos 2, Pepsi Football College
- A total of 224 of the best PFA U-17 footballers will be competing.
- The second phase will involve the selection of the best 16 players from each of the 4 groups [64 players in total] to attend a full week of residential and intense training and competitive matches at the Pepsi Football College.
This specific program will conclude with the confirmation of the PFA's best squad of U-17 players.....call them THE PEPSI EAGLETS....
by the end of May 2008.
- These players will then be ready to be involved, as and when requested, in appropriate NFA screening, trials, selection and competitive programs as Nigeria progresses towards a successful defence of the U-17 World Cup."
Iain Nelson concluded:
"Given the status of the Pepsi Football Academy, we believe it to be our responsibility to contribute, as best we can, towards assisting the NFA and national coaches in their screening process as they progress towards their selection of Nigeria's best U-17 players for the Golden Eaglets and the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Nigeria 2009."