Henson demonstration school Benin lifts 2017 NNPC/Shell Cup …Arase, Ejolum win training trip to Holland 

The 19th edition of Nigeria’s biggest youth football championship, NNPC/Shell Cup, came to a thrilling climax on Tuesday (date: July 4, 2017) with the crowning of Henson Demonstration School, Benin City, Edo State, as the 2017 champions. Two members of the team, Arase Iyobor and Ernest Ejolum, emerged the Most Valuable Players (MVPs) and winners of a training trip to Feyenoord Academy in The Netherlands.

Football - NNPC/Shell Cup

In 1998, SPDC and its joint venture partners: the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, initiated the NNPC/Shell Cup Tournament.

The aim was to create a platform for the discovery of teenage football talent from secondary schools who are no less fascinated by football as they are by their studies. We cast the net far and wide to reach even the remote areas in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

Now in the 19th edition of the tournament, one success we are most proud of is the reduction in the number of boys who would have abandoned their education in pursuit of a career football. Combining sports with education is the true purpose of the NNPC/Shell Cup, and this has remained the driving principle.

The championship has also become a veritable feedstock for the Nigerian national teams and professional league in Nigeria. Many young footballers have been discovered from Nigerian secondary schools through this championship and they have gone on to represent the country in age-group football tournaments. A number of them have also graduated to the Under-23 team and then on to the Super Eagles level. Professional clubs in Nigeria and overseas have used the platform of the NNPC/Shell Cup to scout for talents for their teams.

In 2014, we launched a partnership with one of the most successful youth academies in the world, the Feyenoord Rotterdam’s Youth Academy of The Netherlands. We continue to strengthen the partnership by bringing world-class coaching and player development expertise to Nigeria. This year, along with coaching clinics for the four semi-finalists, the Feyenoord Rotterdam team will also hold coaching sessions with the games masters and coaches of the state champions of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The objective is to ensure that the skills acquired are spread across the nation.

Our objective is to develop a pool of train-the-trainer coaches who would take the knowledge back to their various schools and to other coaches. In addition to the training element, the two most outstanding players in the tournament in the 2018 edition were sponsored to Feyenoord Football Academy for a short further practical sessions and exposure. In this 19th edition, we are continuing this collaboration with the Feyenoord Rotterdam.

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