The Rector of Cowbell Football Academy (CFA), Godwin Dudu-Orumen has urged corporate organisations to follow the lead by Promasidor Nigeria Limited, which has been involved in youth sports development and sponsorship.
According to the respected sports marketing consultant, the corporate community in Nigeria is yet to harness five per cent of the potential in youth sports sponsorship, which he described as a goldmine.
While assessing the impacts of CFA, an initiative sponsored by Cowbell Milk (the flagship brand of Promasidor Nigeria Limited), on the country’s football development in recent years, Dudu-Orumen said that youth sports has the capacity to promote visibility of local brands even beyond national borders, as well as promote consumer loyalty and increase sales.
He further said: “The opportunities in sports sponsorship for brands are enormous. First, the children that benefit from corporate sponsorship become strong loyalists and advocates of the brand. It is also a cheap publicity opportunity for the companies, enhancing brand recall. Unfortunately, many corporate organisations have not responded positively to this great potential. I believe that less than five per cent of the opportunities in sports sponsorship for brand marketing is harnessed.”
The sports promoter said CFA has nurtured over 1,000 football talents in the past five years. He added that its Summer Camp, which holds yearly in four centres in Lagos and Edo States, became so popular that it attracted children from Sierra Leone and other West African countries.
“The next edition of the summer camp holds from July to August. Registration is ongoing, and we expect a huge participation in line with its culture,” he pointed out, adding that Promasidor has proved that corporate sports sponsorship could be very rewarding.
On his part, the academy’s Head Coach/Technical Coordinator, Hyacienth Nkwocha said CFA and other professionally-managed academies have improved the quality of grassroots football development in the country.
He explained: “We have improved on the quality of training in the past few years. We focus on the fundamentals of football and our processes and tactics are research-based. There have been tremendous improvements unlike those days when nobody cares about taking the kids through the nitty-gritty of the game.”
Nkwocha said that increasing involvement of ex-internationals in the running of academies has raised the tempo, improved professionalism and injected discipline in the system. He noted that football academies would continue to deliver more results if young footballers would be patient to hone their skills before rushing to Europe.
Miracle Okocha, a top student of CFA who was the Most Valuable Player in the 2014 Copa Coca-Cola Teen Camp in Brazil, called on young talents to patiently develop their skills before seeking opportunities abroad.
“Academy is critical to football development. But many young players are impatient. They want to travel to Europe even when they are yet to nurture their skills. At the long-run, that does not help as such people end up as average players. For me, I am grateful for the opportunity Promasidor Nigeria, through CFA, has given me to develop myself.”
Okocha called on other corporate organisations to follow the example of Promasidor Nigeria in contributing to the discerning and development of future footballers.
Cowbell Football Academy, which holds at the National Stadium, Surulere, attracts participants from the ages of five to 17 who are being taught character building, individual technical development, small-side games, team competition, mental training, goal keeping training, fun game and more.
Its sponsor, Promasidor Nigeria has been involved in youth development through other corporate social responsibilities, including Promasidor’s Harness Your Dream (a career guidance workshop), Loya Swim Meet and Cowbellpedia Secondary School Mathematics TV Quiz Show.