Buoyed by the gains of its secondary school football tournament in the past 19 years, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), says it will continue to support the development football at the grassroots.
Osagie Okunbor, the company’s Managing Director and Country Chair, made the assertion on Tuesday at the final of 19th NNPC/ Shell Cup, an annual national football tournament for boys at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the yearly competition is sponsored by SPDC in partnership with Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
The competition is organised from the Group stage to the Zonal qualifiers and National round up before the knockout stages.
Henson Demonstration School Benin defeated Holy Ghost College, Owerri2-0 to emerge champions of this year’s competition.
The SPDC managing director, represented by the company’s Country Director, Igo Weli, said the company’s support for the grassroots football competition was borne out of the love for kids’ education and physical wellbeing.
“We will not relent in our efforts towards the development of these youths. They needed the encouragement to bring out their skills.
“We have seen the young talents displaying their skills and in no distant time, they will be the kind of players the country is looking for to fill in the gaps.
“The outstanding ones among them will also have the opportunity of travelling out of the country on scholarships from NNPC/Shell to continue their studies abroad,’’ Okunbor said.
Also, the President, Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Ibraheem Muhammad, said the competition had provided tripodal benefits which are: Tourism, education and sports.
“The competition has provided three in one benefits and that is Tourism, Sports and Educational development.
“It provided tourism because the competition affords the students moving round the country outside their communities.
“It also provides an opportunity to display their football skills and that is sports. The other one is the advancement of their education through scholarships,’’ he said.
The Highest Goal Scorer with seven goals and the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Iyobo Arase, said he was happy to receive the double honour, adding that he would continue to play football.
“I am happy with the double honour. We were determined to win the cup right from the start of the competition though we have yet to play in it before.
“I want to continue playing football and I will also like to play for the national team one day,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Shell Cup is aimed at developing grassroots football and discovering young talents among secondary school students.
It is noteworthy that both finalists are debutants in the competition but made their way to the final through determination and courage.
Henson Demonstration School Benin played its preliminaries and emerged champions in Zone I in Ijebu Ode, while Holy Ghost College, Owerri had theirs in Zone G in Ughelli.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) went to Arase from Henson Demonstration School Benin City, who also emerged as the Highest Goal Scorer with seven goals.
NAN reports that cash prizes of N2.5 million, N1.4 million were presented to the first and second winners.
Each student in the final was also awarded cash of N50, 000 and certificate of participation.