COPA Coca-Cola: Ex-Nigeria star shows he still got skills

Taribo West

Legendary defender, Taribo West was at the COPA Coca-Cola coaching clinic in Ibadan not just to watch the exciting young talents gracing the U-15 tourney, but he stopped by to teach and prepare the teens ahead of their regional group matches and other contests to come after that.

The 2016 COPA Coca-Cola U-15 tourney which continues to display brave encounters, is now at the regional group stage. Some of the young COPA Coca-Cola footballers who after becoming champions of their respective states, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Kwara and Ogun state, are now in Oyo state to compete for the Western region title, which will see the winner proceed to the National finals of the competition.

Taribo West who was part of the team that won the Nigeria Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics was also joined by the the Cote d’Ivoire 1984 Africa Cup of Nations silver medalist, Yisa Shofoluwe, to boost the young players’ morale. The two veteran footballers jointly trained the footballers on several drills, as well as with on-and-off field lectures.

Speaking of the efforts of Coca-Cola to impact the lives of young people in Nigeria through football, Senior Brand Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Soji Omoigui said, “Coca-Cola strongly believes in the potential of Nigerian teens and we are well aware that one of the greatest passions of these teenagers is football, so we wanted to find a way to empower and help them realize their dream”.

The ex-international footballer, Taribo West who played for the Milanese clubs, Internazionale and AC Milan lauded the COPA Coca-Cola vision. He said, “Grassroots is where the game is, and Coca-Cola has given us the key. If you can pick the kids’ talent at this level and develop them, with a lot of investment coming from Coca-Cola, I believe that the future of Nigerian football will be great and we can be assured of a solid standard.”

The former Super Eagles defender added, “The creativity of this initiative is unique and I just pray this should be consistent because this is what the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) should be doing, this is their stuff.”

After a round robin matches between the five teams, Muslim Community Secondary School, Omu-Aran, representing Kwara state came out of the group unbeaten, winning four out of four and continue their 2017 COPA Coca-Cola adventure in Lagos state where the National finals of the tournament will take place.

The Kwara boys will be hoping to replicate their top form in Lagos and hopefully take the valuable trophy to their state.

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