The NNPC/Shell Cup is a long running national football tournament for students of Nigerian high schools. The championship is there to ensure that talented youths are able to combine education with developing their football skills and career. In the past, many students in Nigeria had dropped out of school in the hope of a career as professional football player. Shell sought to collaborate with the Feyenoord Academy in order to give the championship an extra dimension. A Feyenoord delegation travelled to Nigeria for the first time in late April to give football clinics and a coaching workshop to NNPC/Shell Cup semi-finalists. Next season, the partners will look into the possibility of growing the partnership.
Philip Mshelbila underlined the importance the NNPC/Shell Cup attaches to the partnership with Feyenoord: ‘This year’s start has been fantastic. The Nigerian players and their trainers benefited enormously from the Feyenoord Academy trainers, who really did bring something extra. That is why we value the cooperation with the Feyenoord Academy.’
In the coming period both parties will sit down to discuss with a view to strengthening the partnership. ‘We want to see how we could expand the partnership and what else the Feyenoord Academy might bring to the table with regard to the NNPC/Shell Cup. The Feyenoord Academy places strong emphasis on discipline. That’s something we too think is vital for the school children / pupils / players to have if they want to be successful’, says Mshelbila. ‘The most important is that our coaches obtain extra training, so that together we can reach and help many more youngsters.’
Vice President Nigeria and Gabon, Markus Droll said, “the successes of the NNPC/Shell Cup Championship reinforce our belief that players discovered today will have the opportunity to grow into national and international stars, like many before them. We feel the games have matured enough to be internationalised and used as a vehicle to strengthen the motivation of the young men who play in these games.’
As a result, Feyenoord coaches Jan Gösgens and Mike Obiku traveled to Nigeria, accompanied by Feyenoord manager of international relations Gido Vader. In Lagos they ran coaching sessions for students and their coaches during the finals week.