It was a reward for hard work for four (4) talented youngsters who made the final cut, as OB 12 Global Football Academy were crowned champions of the 36 Lion Cup in Ibadan at the weekend.
OB 12 Global were unbeaten in the 4-Team football Tourney held at the University of Ibadan Pitch and Awo Stadium, as they defeated Pacers Football Academy on Matchday One and needed the lotteries of penalty to edge Jay Oxlade 2-1 after the full time result was 1-1.
36 Lion Investment, Demmysport Agency and Wabzeem Sports put together the Lions Southwest Cup -Fantastic Four, which had eventual champions OB 12 Global Football Academy, Jay Oxlade Football Academy, Pacers Football Academy and RFO Football Academy.
Hajj Olawale Liameed Gafar, President of 36 Lion Investment said at the epic final: “The players selected, Adebayo Solomon, Muftau Mubaarak, Shobiye Opeyemi and Mojeed Musa will be in Lagos and pass through a development programme and maybe a year, two or three hit the foreign market, all that depends on the growth of such players.
“A few will just spend six months with us before we transfer them. The players will be divided into three (3) grades of A, B and C. Among the players that were selected from the last edition, only one survived, because our football is not easy to play.
“Our coaching style is ‘Go Army.Com’. If you can’t be a soldier, you cannot play football. No matter how good your coach is, you must be able to be a warrior for you to play the game. One of the slogans of AS Roma of Italy, says ‘Win or Die’, while mine is ‘If you’re not willing to die for a job, you can’t survive that job’.
“Sesan Ayodele, was the player that made it and he is now in the UK, fully sponsored by this programme (36 Lion, OB 12 Global, Demmysport Agency and Wabzeem Sports.
“On our way to Ibadan, the youngster was invited to West Ham United to showcase his talent and the 15-year-old dazzled as he was the best player. He is also in the UK schooling and playing football, we believe he will end up becoming a top rated player in the UK when he’s 18-years-old.”
Speaking further, the Vice Chairman Lagos State Football Association (Lagos FA) gave a punchline, after he noted a drop in the quality of the main actors of football.
“Immediately after the programme, Coach Gullit and I have selected a player that can start making an impact in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL), from here he has earned an invite to Shooting Stars of Ibadan courtesy of the Oluyole Warriors Team Manager Dimeji Lawal.
“The quality of play all over the world is dropping, same goes with players as they think more of money than playing and I don’t fault the trend looking at the different challenges. But I want to implore you as young players to keep working hard, and trust me when it rains, money will rain you up.
“Football is capital intensive, as it requires lots of funds, that’s why critics think we waste money on football but we have the belief that we will recoup our investment with huge profits at the end of the day.
“OB 12 Global and Jay Oxlade, Pacers and RFO, ideally should be funded with a minimum of Five Million Naira (N5,000, 000) each per season by their Local Government, but we find ourselves in an unfortunate situation. We are doing a wonderful job in a very challenging platform, the platform is Nigeria and everyone will survive Nigeria.
“When I said the quality of players dropping, normally I am supposed to select two young talents from the teams but I can only pick three players from the team that finished fourth. It’s interesting as despite finishing 4th, we saw three best talents in the team.
“We’ll invite the three of them to Lagos, the coach of the team has done a good job nurturing his lads, they fought a gallant fight in the tourney, while the players selected are rewarded for his hard work.”