Twenty-seven schools have emerged as champions from the state finals in the ongoing 17th edition of the NNPC-Shell Cup for Nigerian secondary schools sponsored by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture.
According to the Nigerian School Sports Federation, organisers of the event, the state champions will now compete in zonal preliminaries between April 27 and May 01, 2015 in nine zones.
The quarterfinals will take place from May 08-11, 2015 while the semi-final and the final matches are slated for May 22 and 24 respectively at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
The NNPC-Shell Cup tournament has created a platform for the discovery of new football talents some of whom have subsequently played for the Nigerian national team at all levels.
“Every new edition comes with new excitement and innovations to help our young talents blend their academic pursuit with their passion,” said SPDC’s Sustainable Development and Community Relations Manager, Mr. Igo Weli, who added that the international exposure of team coaches and the players to foreign technical crew from the renowned Feyenoord Football Academy of the Netherlands was meant to upscale the tournament’s standard.
According to Weli, Super Eagle Ejike Uzoenyi who was the most valuable player at the 2013 African Nations Cup, and Idowu Akinjide who was a member of the victorious Golden Eaglets that won the 2013 FIFA under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirate are both products of the NNPC-Shell Cup tournament.
The NNPC/Shell Cup is a social investment initiative initiated in 1998 by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners. Over the years it has grown and created a platform for the discovery of new football talents from across secondary schools in the remote areas of the 36 states in Nigeria. It has also become a veritable feedstock for the Nigerian U-17 team and national team.
Over the past 16 years, a number of players discovered during the NNPC/Shell Cup have gone on to have high-profile careers in football. These include, Okoronkwo, Eyimofe, Vanzekin, Ejike, Ogbuke, Precious, Ajani and Opabunmi. The Championship has been so successful that it is now a permanent fixture in the Nigerian School Sports calendar earning the nickname “All Nigeria Secondary Schools Football Championship.” About 60,000 students from 3000 schools participated in 2014 edition.
Combining sports with education is the true purpose of the NNPC/Shell Cup and it has been achieved by the joint and sustained effort of SPDC and our joint Venture Partners, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Total Exploration & Production Nigeria, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, as well as the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation.
The partnership launched in 2014 with Feyenoord Rotterdam’s Youth Academy, one of the most successful youth academies in the world, to bring world-class coaching and player development expertise to Nigeria others has also been strengthened.
The top ten talents discovered during each edition are awarded scholarships and each scholarship covers the cost of each awardee’s secondary school education. On completion of secondary school, the top ten talents will be eligible to compete for Shell University Undergraduate Scholarships.