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29 Jun 2013

The True Facts You Don’t Know About MTN Football Scholar

MTN Football Scholar is a youth programme aimed at discovering talents who can combine active football and education at the tertiary level within a scholarship scheme. The project, which is open to students within the age bracket of 14 and 18 year, is a platform for the discovery, nurture and exposure of budding soccer talents who will subsequently enjoy access to scholarship opportunities to soccer oriented universities in the United States and linkages with other international soccer academies. The programme initiated in 2011, enters its third season this year with trials conducted in five centres across Nigeria; namely, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Benin City, Akure, Abuja and Lagos.  Selected participants from these centres have proceeded to the Academy where they get intensive football and academic training for a period of one month. The month-long training prepares students for the SAT examinations and training under top Nigerian national team personnel and coaches from top American soccer academies. Those who succeed in crossing at this stage would play a final football competition in the watchful eyes of international soccer scouts to select top winners. From here, they will proceed to the second Academy, in August which will focus mainly on academics. The students will receive intensive training on mathematics and English, in preparation for the main SAT exams.  Skeletal lessons on football will also be received at the academy. The programme will run for approximately 4 weeks. The maiden edition in 2011 was an outstanding success. Today we have Nigerian youngsters who are efficiently combining education with soccer, in topmost Universities and Colleges in the United States. Richard Ochefije, who is currently at the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut, Abdusalam Oganla-Adbusalam, studying in Knox College in Illinois for a degree in Economics, Anthony Amolo, Berkshire School, in a preparatory academy in Massachusetts and Ifeanyi Edemba who is already at Knox College, studying for a degree in Conservation and the Natural Sciences.
Meanwhile, in the season 2 of the programme, eight lucky participants are already on their ways to study abroad, Oyeniyi Adebare, a-2011-graduate of the International Sports Academy, Waasinmi, Ogun State, where he was both the Senior Prefect and Football Captain has currently secured admission into Skidmore College, New York, USA, Precious Ozoh, from Government Secondary School, Aso Pada, Nassarawa State will also be attending Holderness School in the US, while. Kehinde Sanni from Apex Unique International College Akure, Ondo State and Sampson Isaac, from King’s College, Lagos, have been accredited for Masters School New York, USA, respectively.
It is no longer news that the initiative has continued to gain nationwide accolades, speaking at the press conference to usher in the third season of the project; a scholar and prolific ex-soccer star himself; Chief Segun Odegbami explained how extending education alongside soccer to young talents has been his vision. According to him, this is the best way to ensure that the future crop of Nigerian players and those who couldn’t make a living through the game have some other careers to fall back on. He further mentioned that, ‘the MTN Football Scholar is the only initiative in Africa that combines education with soccer among all youth development initiatives, across the continent.’ 
In the same vein another ex-international at the event, Mutiu Adepoju, ‘the head master’, cited examples of his team-mates, in his playing days in Spain, who are now Medical Doctors and Lawyers. He admonished the select soccer stars, Sampson Isaac, Ekeh-Shadrach Chizoma, Oyeniyi Adebare and Sefia Tega Joel, who have already secured admissions into colleges in the United States and Canada, to represent the nation well and keep their focus. Meanwhile, parents and guardians have embraced the opportunity as an avenue to fulfil for their wards to fulfil their dreams; amidst great expectation and excitement from the hundreds of aspiring young footballers who trooped to Akure Township Stadium for selections into the soccer academy on Thursday and Friday, the elder ones came to give their backups. One of the parents, a 61-year old grandmother, Abosede Adesida, who came with her grandson, Staley Olamide Adesida, a 14-year-old SS 1 Student of Oyemekun Grammar School Akure, said that, he came with boy when she understood that, the initiative will provide an opportunity to combine schooling with football career. More so, a chance to go and study abroad under MTN’s scholarship is offer too much to be neglected. “We you notice a boy as brilliant as Olamide, and at the same time who is well acknowledged in the school that he plays good football, I think a right thinking parent will support such a boy to get an opportunity such as the one provided by MTN”. She declared. Also in Benin City centre of the trials, the Edo State Secretary of Youths Sports Federation Of Nigeria (YSFON) Prince Harrison Iyonoma commended the efforts of MTN Football Scholar in discovering educated Footballers in the country. While speaking at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin during the ongoing trials for the MTN Football Scholar Academy, the football administrator gave kudos to MTN for taking the initiative of organizing a football academy scheme that will go a long way in developing not only the age-grade football but the entire national football. He also encouraged other multi nationals to emulate MTN.
According to Harrison he said “we must give kudos to MTN for this laudable land mark, the programme is a developmental programme aimed at picking the kids from the grassroots, nurture them so that they can act as replacements for our aging players. And it will also give them what to fall back on after their football careers”. He said. Today, MTN Football Scholar remains an unprecedented platform where aspiring football have hope of combing football playing expertise with academics. This is done under the sponsorship of the telecommunications giants, MTN, with the candidates ably shown evidence of good football skills and academic capabilities.

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