Olufemi Adelusi, an official from Coca-Cola Nigeria, is happy with the progress that his young compatriots are making in the 2012 COPA Coca-Cola International Football Stars tournament taking place in South Africa.
The Zion Boys, as the young Nigerians are known, have illustrated a unique team spirit at the event in East Pretoria that separates them from the rest of their African counterparts.
“Before the boys came here to South Africa they had a separate camp in Lagos to prepare for this tournament,” said Adelusi.
“These boys have been selected from 14 different states in Nigeria, and it is the first time that most of them have travelled this far in their lives.
“Only one boy has previously travelled out of Nigeria whilst most of them had never been as far as Lagos.”
The Nigerian official was beaming with pride when he highlighted that his fellow countrymen had overcome tremendous obstacles to reach this point in their life and they represent all that is good about football in Africa.
“These boys illustrate the core theme of what COPA represents,” said Adelusi.
“They showcase the spirit of making it through difficult times; they put meaning to the new Coca-Cola campaign of a ‘Billion reasons to believe in Africa’.”
Adelusi also revealed that the goal of developing these youngsters is to go beyond activities on the football pitch as not all of the players will make it professionally.
“Next year we want to introduce a scholarship programme so that the boys are not only empowered on the field but off it as well.
“If a certain player is not technically on par with the rest of his peers, but if he shows that he has good abilities then he will be empowered with the necessary knowledge to pursue a different career of his choice,” concluded the official.