Host nation Ghana won the second MILO U-13 African Championship, beating South Africa 4-0 in a fascinating game watched by Ghana’s Minister of Education, Lee Ocran and the Liberian Deputy Minister of Sports, Dionysius Sebwe.
In a carnival atmosphere at the Accra El-Wak stadium patronized by hundreds, South Africa, represented by the Nkunzimbini Junior School, put up a dazzling performance before succumbing to the Ghanaian delegate, SOS School, Tamale.
They were decorated with medals by Lee Ocran and Sebwe Dionysius, assisted by the Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, Moataz El Hout and Daniel Yapobi, Business Executive Manager (Beverages), CWAR. Saint Anthony’s Boys School, Sierra Leone, took the third position.
Earlier in the week, the Ghanaian Minister kick-started the Championship in Accra, recognizing the brand for its exceptional commitment to youth sports development on the continent. He was delighted about the role MILO continues to play in nurturing talents on the football-crazy continent.
“Since MILO was introduced in Ghana more than three decades ago, it has been heavily involved in sports development in our schools … Just take a look at the names of sportsmen who have been winning medals for us at various international competitions - the Essiens (Chelsea), Muntaris (AC Milan), and many more, are products of MILO Schools Sports Programmes”, he observed, with satisfaction.
Dilating on the essence of the competition, Daniel Yapobi, Business Executive Manager (Beverages) notes that “as children play and engage in sports, they learn the values of life (teamwork, determination, courage, confidence, discipline, respect) – values they carry into adulthood. MILO U-13 African Championship is our contribution, supporting the energy, drive and attitude that keeps children going, allowing them to make the most out of every day, every challenge”.
The star-studded event was also used to draw out fixtures for the two-day competition with Ghana and South Africa paired for the opening match of what is expected to be a tough but cordial duel of wits and fists. Defending Champions, Nigeria will take on Sierra Leone in the second match before Ghana engages Liberia in another Group A match while Nigeria do battle with Kenya for its second game.
African legend, Abedi Ayew Pele, who is serving as an icon for the kids, was among football stars, government officials and some diplomats who spoke at the function, christening the game as the “Mini-African Cup of Nations”.
The participating teams, all champions in their respective countries, are St Stephen’s School, Lagos (Nigeria); SOS School, Tamale (Ghana); Nkunzimbini Junior School (South Africa); St. Anthony's Boys (Sierra Leone); William Lee Bonner School (Liberia) and Loresho Primary (Kenya).
The coveted biennial showpiece started in 2009/2010 to help unearth budding talents on a continent where football is the centerpiece of all recreational and social activities.
The key objective of the championship is to build bridges between kids across Africa through the brand MILO and power of football and, by so doing, create a lasting bond between MILO and the youth, who constitute the brand’s core target.
In addition to engaging in competitive soccer on the field, the teams will pay courtesy calls at their respective country embassies, spend time at the Nestlé Tema Factory and tour the scenic Akosombo dam site.
6000 kids, 1,000 for each team, will support their assigned teams and buoy-up their spirits.