By Patrick Omorodion
The All Nigeria Secondary Schools Football Championship tagged NNPC/Shell Cup which many thought has been rested will still hold after all with state preliminaries already on nationwide.
The Head, PR, Brand and Strategy of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mrs. Yomi Adeleye, said in Lagos yesterday that the company wants to renew its commitment to the promotion of football and education in the country.
In unfolding the package for the competition which final has been fixed for March in 2010, Mrs. Adeleye announced an increase in the prize money for all the winners with the champion school expected to earn N3.5 million.
The second, third and fourth place finishers, she said, will earn N2.3 million, N1.3 million and N1.1 million respectively adding that part of the money is expected to go into the development of a chosen sport facility for the schools.
â€œAs the 12th edition of the championship takes off, we are proud to renew our commitment to the promotion of education and footballâ€, she said, adding that the company this year will partner with the â€œcivil society action coalition on education for all (CSACEFA), that is involved with educational development in Nigeria, to ensure that only students actually participate in the championship.â€
Responding, the president of the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Mallam Ibrahim Mohammad who was represented by the second vice president, Mr. Ayo Lawal, thanked the sponsors for their â€œcommitment to the development of grass-root sports especially in moving the game of football forward in Nigeria.â€
Assuring that the 2010 edition would be hitch-free, Mallam Mohammad disclosed that the NSSF would work with the association of school principals, ANCOPPS to ensure that cheating in whatever form is eradicated while those found wanting can be sanctioned.
Consultant of the championship to the SPDC, Chief Segun Odegbami gave a cheering news to all present at the ceremony yesterday that top chiefs of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF are already discussing with him to see how future U-17 national team could be formed from the products of the NNPC/Shell Cup.