Okocha, Idowu list gains of EPL School Trophy tour
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha and Chairman, National Academy Sports Committee (NASCOM), Yemi Idowu, believe the presence of the English Premier League (EPL) trophy in Lagos’ schools would inspire kids to embrace sports.
Idowu, a member of the Youth Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said “the Barclays EPL School Trophy Tour is part of community programme that already exists in England called the school trophy tour.
“Normally, schools will apply and they will be selected and the trophy will be taken to schools and they’ve now decided to be sharing it with schools outside England, taking it to Asia and Africa. It has been to Africa before in the past and this time they offered to bring it back to Nigeria and Lagos precisely and we had two schools that were selected, that is City of David and Lagos Preparatory School.”
Idowu, whose NASCOM encourages children to take to sports, said “we are leveraging on the presence of the cup to encourage and attract our own local leagues and more importantly schools competition such as the Lagos Junior League and Channels National Kids Cup.
“The emphasis is on schools sports and we the members of the Youth Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), our efforts is on school children, very young children to participate in sports and what the NFF is trying to do is to get more states FAs to go to the schools to partner with the ministry of education at the state level and other stakeholders to get more children involved in sports.
Obviously, if we have more children watching football especially the English Premier League on television, at the same time, they can go out and play.”
The NASCOM boss said bringing Okocha, who played in the EPL, and is well educated and doing very good in life will send the message to the children that “they can do these things together, go to school to have a good academics career if they are not able to play football professionally and that is why we are doing this.” Also speaking on the tour, Okocha, affirmed that the presence of the trophy would inspire students to take interest in sports.
“We have to say a very big thank you to Barclays Bank for making the EPL trophy school tour possible because it will inspire aspiring kids to become footballers and I think it doesn’t get any better than this to go to the grassroots to encourage those kids.
We also hope that our football can also grow that we can take the NPFL trophy on tour with the right people who know what it takes to take our football to the next level and not just depending on government. So, there are a lot of things to emulate from the English Premier League.”