What is Pepsi Football Academy?
Pepsi’s love for football is unrivaled. The company not only markets its products through football commercials and sponsorships but also partakes in ensuring the growth of the game. Pepsi strives to integrate itself into pop culture, and football is its way of reaching out to the masses of fans in different global markets. Pepsi Football Academy in Nigeria is an example of the company’s commitment to the game.
The Pepsi Academy Facebook Page has become a hive of activity today owing to the number of youths attracted to the opportunity of a bright future the academy presents.
Pepsi Football Academy
From the small recreational camp in 1992, the Agege Stadium has shaped the lives of many young players over the years, earning it a reputation in the Nigerian soccer world and globally.
The talent emanating from the Kashimawo Laloko football school in the stadium, drew the interest of the Lagos State Sports Council, an initiative which brought in the full backing of Pepsi in 1994, forever changing the name of the stadium to the Pepsi Football Academy.
Today, the academy hosts over 3000, 6 – 18-year-old students, and operates through the over 14 separate training centers currently established across Nigeria. The academy boasts of producing top talents in some of the most competitive league teams across the world. The likes of Uwa Elderson Echiejile, Soga Sambo, Dominic Chatto, Yinka Adedeji, Joseph Akpala, Conquest Osaroigwe and John Obi Mikel are some of the football professionals that passed through the Pepsi Football Academy as young talents.
The Academy recently introduced a scholarship scheme, aimed at providing the most elite young talent still in the academy, a chance to propel their academic, as well as sports careers in the United Kingdom, which is considered the home of Soccer across the world, hosting a catalog of globally admired players.
The scholarship was awarded to 13 players on inception in 2006. Michael Oluwatosin became the first to benefit from the scholarship.
Top soccer teams in Europe rely on local talent, which costs them a lot less but achieves much higher results than talent from elsewhere. It is this drive that prompted Pepsi to hire 54 coaches across its training centers to facilitate the nurturing of talent, in order to expose the players at a very young age.
The large internationally renowned clubs such as Arsenal, Dortmund and Ajax to mention a few, have academies, from where they develop their next generation of elite players. Pepsi has been instrumental in filling the gap in Nigeria, owing to the lack of such facilities in the country. This, in the long run, will play a large part in putting Africa on the map in terms of soccer finesse.
The impact of Pepsi Academy on Soccer in Nigeria
Nigeria is among Africa’s football giants even though its fortunes in major continental and global tournaments in the recent times have been uninspiring. Nevertheless, Nigerian footballers have the highest chance of succeeding as professionals. A recent study by the international football statisticians CIES Football Observatory ranked Nigeria first in Africa and ninth in the world in terms of the number of players playing abroad. Thanks to the academy.
Pepsi Football Academy has in large part influenced the formation of several other sports academies in the country. Their generous enrichment of talent in young players sparked a new era in the Nigerian soccer scene.
Some of the academies that have risen as a result of this include Barcelona Football Academy, FCBEscola, owned by the Barcelona football club in the city of Lagos. Another is Kwara State Football Academy, an initiative of Bukola Saraki, under the leadership of Clemence Westerhof, a popular Nigerian Soccer technical advisor to the Nigeria national team. It is managed by Paul Ashworth, a Swedish director.
Other top academies include Abuja Football College, formed in 2012, and Midas Soccer Academy, established in 2006 and Papilio Football Academy, owned by a popular Nigerian soccer star, who played for a number of teams across Europe including Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Portsmouth.
Pepsi Football Academy stands tall, as a beacon of hope for many young sportsmen, eager to pursue a career in soccer. It has grown to be the largest Academy with the most lucrative opportunities for any player at any age, and as such, the best place to be. The registration process is fairly simple as well, and the response is timely. Students are assessed in terms of their personal skills, academic and soccer skills. Personal documents are collected and a fairly low registration fee levied against the students before enrolment.