Remo Stars’ coach attributes success to good facilities
• We’ll nurture discovered talents to stardom, Dikko promises
• MTN’s partnership with NFF is yielding dividends, says Ebueku
Remo Stars’ Head Coach, Olawale Olowookere, who, at the weekend, guided his team to victory in the 2022 MTN/NPFL/La Liga U-15 Championship, has attributed his success to the quality facility the players enjoyed in the competition held in Ikenne, Ogun State.
Remo Stars U-15 team defeated Shooting Stars of Ibadan 2-0 in the final watched by a capacity crowd under floodlight at Remo Stars Stadium, Ikenne.
A brace from tournament’s top scorer, Arierhi Kparobo, gave Remo Stars U-15 team the trophy to end an exciting display of football artistry from young players, who came from across the country. Kparobo scored five goals in the competition.
Speaking with The Guardian, Olowookere said the quality of facilities at their disposal at ‘Beyond Limit Academy’ in Ikenne, which is run by the proprietor of Remo Stars, Kunle Soname, played a huge role in the victory.
“I thank God for this victory. I commend my players for their commitment, resilience and dedication throughout this competition. But beyond what happened on the football pitch, the support we got from our proprietor and the quality of facilities we enjoyed here contributed to the success. I thank everyone, including the backroom staff, groundsmen and curators for the success,” Olowookere said.
On his part, Kunle Soname, who is the proprietor of Remo Stars, one of the clubs playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), stated that the success recorded at the tournament has laid the foundation for the career of the young players.
“This is part of efforts to have a sustainable structure in our football. Now that we are getting it right at the U-15 level, I am sure a solid foundation is being laid for our U-17 team, the Flying Eagles and the senior national team.”
“I have said it, there is the need to address this issue of today we succeed, tomorrow we fail. I commend all the players and coaches, who took part in this competition,” Soname said.
The Second Vice President of the NFF, Shehu Dikko, who is the Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC) responsible for the management of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), told The Guardian that players discovered at the tournament would be monitored and nurtured to become the next generation of national team players.
“If you want a sustained success, you have to build the foundation for it. This MTN/NPFL/La Liga U-15 tournament is to discover the young stars that will graduate into the U-17 team. I am happy we discovered a lot of them here. The duty of the NFF now is to ensure these boys are well monitored for them to become the Okochas, Kanus and Musas of tomorrow,” Dikko stated.
The Senior Manager, Sponsorship and Promotions at MTN Nigeria, Osaze Ebueku, also spoke at the end of the tournament on Sunday. He said: “I am so proud of this excellent display of football by our youths. The partnership between MTN, NPFL and La Liga at the youth level is paying off in a big way for Nigerian football. As a sponsor, MTN will continue to play its role in ensuring that talented Nigerian footballers are given a good foundation for their career to flourish.”
The NPFL/La Liga U-15 youth league, which started in 2017, has seen some of the participants in the first and second editions, play and captain the U-17 national team and the U-20 national team. Others ply their trade abroad.
One of the players, Akin Amoo, who was part of the class of 2017, made the Super Eagles squad against the Black Stars of Ghana in the 2022 World Cup play-off, which Nigeria lost.
Some of the young footballers, who emerged from the 2022 edition, include Remo Stars’ Ohamesi Chimezie, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Highest Goals scorer, Arierhi Kparobo, also of Remo Stars, Samuel Ajayi of Shooting Stars and Chris Yusuf of Plateau United.
Katsina United defeated Kano Pillars 5-4 on penalties to win the third place match.