UPLIFTing Under-15 Talent Hunt Aimed at Changing Lives0
WIFE of the Ogun State Governor, Olufunso Amosun, has explained that she set up the UPLIFTing youth programme to help the children of the state become successful in their football careers.
Speaking during the send-forth party organised for the 22 Ogun State boys selected for a training tour of Italy, Amosun said she was motivated to delve into grassroots football sponsorship by the successes a similar programme on education recorded.
According to Amosun, “during the Easter 2013 school holidays, we decided to engage young male talented players in the state in an Under-15 Grassroots football Talent Hunt Competition. We wanted to keep them occupied over the Easter break as well as identify raw talent in the kids that could be harnessed and create opportunities for identified talented players.
“The football competition was open to all male talented students in government owned secondary schools in the state between the ages of 13 and 15. Thousands showed up, and about 350 of them were selected and taken into a one-week camp where they were feed, kitted and coached.”
While in the camp, according to Amosun, they engaged in football matches all day everyday for the whole duration of the camp under the keen eyes of professional and internationally acclaimed footballers.
“For the whole duration of the training, elimination and selection process, the competition had in attendance Jim Colston, a renowned scout for the English Premiership League in the United Kingdom and Nigeria’s own very dear celebrated footballers, Olusegun Odegbami and Football Ambassador, John Fashanu.
“At the end of the camp, 15 young lads were identified as astonishingly outstanding, and seven others were identified as ‘wonders in boots.
“Mindful of the fact that the footballers are all minors and in full time education, Amosun said she stressed that any programme that would disturb the footballer’s schooling or studies is of no interest to her, as she insisted that UPLIFT footballer skills must be built on a solid educational foundation.
“Some of these children need to be harnessed academically, while others are sports inclined. So, what we are doing is to create the platform for then to exhibit their talents beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“We have done the exercise at the Senior Secondary School level where we identified the brilliant ones and took them to further development programmes. It is a continuous exercise that will help us get the best out of the children of Ogun State,” she added.
Source: The Guardian Nigeria