Rockford College wins Copa Coca-Cola Lagos final
Thirty-two schools from across the federation have entered into the regional stage of the 2016 U-15 Copa Coca-Cola tournament, just as Rockford Junior College, Ikorodu emerged winner of the Lagos grassroots finals.
At the Legacy pitch of the National Stadium on Thursday, Rockford had a fantastic outing, defeating rival team, Jibowu Junior School 7-0 to make their way into the next stage of the competition. It was a highly tactical match as the Rockford boys dominated the game scoring seven sensational goals.
Commenting on the match, the Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Patricia Jemibewon, expressed her delight at the display of football skills by the teenagers, noting that Coca-Cola would continually provide platforms that support teenagers’ passions.
Jemibewon said, “Coca-Cola is committed to the overall development of young Nigerians, especially teenagers, and research has shown that, beyond being just a sporting activity, football plays a huge role in the development of teenagers because of the values they learn from playing, which include determination, friendship, hard work, and responsibility.
“All of these skills are useful for the future, hence Coca-Cola is committed to promoting the game of Football among teenagers.” Some former international football stars present at the final, including Victor Ikpeba, Tajudeen Disu and Henry Nwosu, commended Coca-Cola for expanding the scope of the Copa Coca-Cola competition to accommodate more participation.
According to Ikpeba, “Many of the Football stars you see today began their careers from competitions such as this. Expanding the scope of the competition to accommodate 60,000 players is really huge and very commendable, and I am happy to be a part of a platform that is transforming grassroots Football in Nigeria.’’
For his part, the representative of the National President, Nigerian Schools Sports Federation (NSSF), HRH Dairo J. Olutayo remarked that Coca-Cola’s involvement in Nigerian grassroots football has created opportunities for thousands of talented teenagers, giving wings to their passions.
Basking in the excitement of the moment, 13 year-old Abatan Lekan of Rockford College enthused, “Although, this is the first time we are participating in the tournament, but we came into the game with the mindset to nail all our games. It was not easy playing five matches on the road to the finals, but our determination spurred us on.”
The 32 qualified schools will be grouped into 8 regions; West, Middle Belt, South, East, South East, North West, North and North Central, out of which 8 teams will compete for the trophy in Lagos at the National finals.
Part of the highlights of this year’s competition is the coaching clinic that precedes the group matches. The clinic will be conducted by ex-international football stars.