Seven Up Golden Jubilee Tournament

It was perhaps a befitting climax to the week-long Pepsi U-17 International football tournament that held from September 4 – 11 in the rock city of Abeokuta.

The Pepsi Academy Nigeria team won the coveted Laloko Trophy along with N200,000 that was donated for the tournament winners by the Chairman of the Seven Up Bottling Co. Plc to mark the company’s Golden Jubilee. The tournament MVP, Mohammed Elegbede, also a Pepsi Academy player, won the Chairman’s Golden Jubilee award of N50,000.

This year’s edition [the tournament has held every year since 2003] brought together youngsters from Cote d’Ivoire [L’Afad Academy], Ghana [Liberty Professionals], the Republic of Benin [Dragon International] along with the Lagos State Youth Team and two teams from the Pepsi Academy.
It was a special edition as it marked the 50th anniversary celebration of the Seven Up Bottling Company, the bottlers of Pepsi, 7 UP and other famous brands such as Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Teem and Aquafina.

Commenting on this special edition of the tournament, Iain Nelson, consultant to the Pepsi Football Academy said,
“the Pepsi Football Academy has cause to celebrate with the Seven Up Bottling Company on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee because the academy has enjoyed the full support and encouragement from the company over the past 18 years during which time it has discovered and developed many fully fledged world class footballers such as John Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, Onyekachi Apam, Solomon Okoronkwo, Issac Promise, Elderson Echijile and many more.”

Former Super Eagles midfielder and General Manager of 3SC of Ibadan, Mutiu Adepoju [popularly known as Headmaster] said,
“This is what we really need now. We need a competition like this to re-awaken a youth development drive in the whole of Africa because the present crop of players in most African national teams seem to be growing too tired to cope with the dynamics of modern football. That is why I must commend Pepsi for this great thing they are doing.”

Ogun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Bukola Olopade, who was the special guest of honour for the final match, said that he was elated that Ogun State has successfully played host to another international football event after the ECOWAS tournament held earlier in the year. He commended Pepsi for its pioneering role in the development of grassroots football.

But can the Seven Up Bottling Company along with PepsiCo International sustain the Pepsi Football Academy in the years to come?
Dr. Kasimawo Laloko, PFA Director believes it certainly will be done.
“At 50, the Seven Up Bottling Company is an icon and a well established and successful company in Nigeria. The management and staff are passionate about the Pepsi Football Academy not least because of our successes but also in that through supporting our efforts over all these years it reflects the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Seven Up Bottling Company, through funding the Pepsi Academy, significantly contributes back into the community in which it operates.”

September 2010