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Nigerian Wins Best Player at Airtel, Arsenal International Soccer Academy

By Airtel Nigeria
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Accra, Ghana; September 02, 2012: Benjamin Ibrahim Attah, one of Nigeria's representatives at the just concluded Airtel, Arsenal International Soccer Academy in Accra, Ghana has emerged the Overall Best Player (Male Category) at the soccer clinic, which attracted talented youngsters from Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.

Attah was decorated with a medal in recognition of his outstanding performance at the soccer camp by UEFA-Certified Arsenal Coaches, Paul Sevier and Robert Grant.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the seven-day football clinic, Sevier said Attah was a special player that demonstrated all the attributes of a great footballer during his stay at the soccer Clinic.

“Attah brought with his talent an outstanding personality, character and attitude. Even when he had a minor injury that prevented him from participating in training sessions for two days, he was always cheerful, encouraging all the players in the pitch. He has a very warm and great personality.”

Sevier added: “Attah also has an amazing talent as a goal-keeper. He is shown that he truly understands what it takes to be an exceptional goal keeper. Talents like Attah should be encouraged in their professional career.”

In his response, Attah attributed his success to God. “I thank God for this recognition and I will continue to work very hard as a footballer. I also thank Airtel and Arsenal for providing me with this great opportunity to improve my talent. I am, indeed, very grateful,” he said.

Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour also used the opportunity of the closing ceremony to encourage and advise the players, urging them to take their practice sessions very seriously.

“I signed for Arsenal when I was 11 and played at the first team level for 12 years. One thing that kept me going was the fact that I took my practice sessions seriously. I also demonstrated passion, determination and constantly looked for opportunities to improve.

“I am encouraging all the African young talents at this soccer clinic to take their training sessions seriously. And when you make your first team debut in International Football, never look back. Just keep improving and listen to your coaches,” Parlour remarked.

The Airtel/Arsenal clinic is part of the strategic partnership the renowned club side entered with Airtel Africa for her five African markets which include Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda.

On the strength of the partnership, Arsenal would offer technical support to the Airtel Rising Stars football development initiative by providing UEFA- trained coaches to assist with training budding talents in each of the five Airtel-Arsenal countries at Arsenal Coaching Clinic for up to 50 footballers.

Nigeria had five representatives at the International Academy. They are: Gift Nevo (Best Goal keeper in the female category), Rafiat Awheda (Golden Boot winner and Most valuable Player, Female category), Ibrahim Benjamin (Best Goal Keeper, Male category), Yakubu Gambo, (Most Valuable Player, Male category) and Bilyaminu Sani (Golden Boot winner, Male Category).

They were all selected by officials of Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) at the National Finals of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U17 Tournament for Boys and Girls held last month at the Agege Township Stadium in Lagos.