Ex-international and former Super Eagles Captain, Austin Okocha has said Nigeria is in for a big bang in the world of Soccer in the nearest future as he made a selection of 10 youth footballers at the Abuja regional screening in the on-going Oceanic Football Talent Hunt.
In what may be the beginning of the journey to soccer stardom for the young footballers, the selected players will be joined by their counterparts, to be selected from the remaining two regions of Benin and Ibadan, for the final stage of the project.
The football talent hunt is a Corporate Social Responsibility project by Oceanic bank designed to lift youth football in the country.
At the Abuja screening exercise, about 200 players traded tackles during the two-day event held at the Lungi Army barrack in the nationâ€™s capital city, at the end of which the 10 players emerged victorious.
The players who were tested on various football skills displayed raw talents, skills and enthusiasm to the admiration of the coaching crew which included, former internationals, Waheed Akanni and Friday Elahor.
Each player got a unique opportunity to prove that he was worth going to the final camping stage where the best of the nationâ€™s future football heroes will gather to slug it out. |
The programmeâ€™s host, Austin â€œJay Jayâ€ Okocha, watched with keen observations as the players performed, with a view to selecting the best amongst them, using professional guidelines.
Okocha who was impressed with the extra-ordinary performance of some of the players said: â€œI canâ€™t believe what some of these boys are doing. Many of them have improved on their acts since the zonal trials in Kano and Sokoto.
I believe some of them will one day make Nigeria proud in the game of football.â€ He said: â€œSome of them have long been waiting to be discovered. Thatâ€™s why I feel very proud and I am happy each time I see them perform in this Oceanic Bank talent hunt programme.
This will provide a unique opportunity for them to be discovered by the world and achieve their life- long dreams of becoming professional footballers.â€
Okocha reminded them that the Football Talent Hunt was designed to help them achieve their dreams of becoming international stars. He urged them to put in their best and be optimistic about the outcome as only the best would be selected.
He told the players that even if they fail to make it this time, with hard work and dedication, they could still make it some other time.
Other members of the coaching crew, who participated in evaluation of the individual performances of the young players expressed optimism that the Oceanic Talent Hunt.
Of the about 200 players that showed up to participate in Abuja, the top 10 of them would be chosen to proceed to the final stage which will hold in a camp in Lagos.
Two other regional screening at which 10 players each will be selected comes up between September 15 and 16, 2009 in Benin and September 18 and 19, 2009 in Ibadan.Â At the end of the camp in Lagos, 15 finalists will emerge. Each one will receive N1m and a brand new car with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) going home with a brand new SUV and N1m star prize.
Efforts would then be made to get the successful ones into major teams both at home and abroad as a way of helping them to launch their professional careers in football.
The Oceanic Football Talent Hunt, an initiative of Oceanic bank to discover and promote young talents across the country, would see the emergence of the best talents who would win various prizes and cash at the end of the programme.