Gift Nevo is a 14 year old girl who attends school at the A1 Comprehensive School at Ikotun-Egbe in Lagos, Nigeria. She is part of the Nigerian contingent attending the second Airtel Rising Stars soccer clinic in Accra, Ghana. The clinic is being run by coaches from Arsenal FC?s Soccer Schools from London. She is a goal keeper. She also plays club football with Adex Queens in Lagos.
After barely 48 hours in Ghana, Gift feels she has learnt a lot from the clinic already. ?We went through warm-up and stretching exercises that I have never seen before; I like it?, she said. As part of the routine for the clinic, the youngsters go through various pylometric sessions aimed at keeping them fit and enhancing their skill. Gift had a lot of nice things to say about her hosts, her coaches and Airtel. ?Ghana is good. This is my first time in Ghana. The organizers too are very good. Our coaches are teaching us how to play like Arsenal?, she said. The Arsenal way entails ?playing as a team to produce imaginative, entertaining and skilful football. We take time to develop and nurture our younger players to ensure that they reach their full potential. By guiding players through our extensive training programmes, we have produced many world-class players over the years, something that we are very proud of? according to www.playthearesnalway.com.
AwedaRafiatTitilayo is also Nigerian. She plays as a forward. Like Gift, she is 14 and attends Ikeja Senior Grammar School. She plays for Real Dynamo Academy. Aweda has also picked up a lot of knowledge from her first training session. ?If our coach does not come for training, I can take my colleagues through the training session?, she said. According to Aweda, they have gone through techniques such as long and short passing, keeping possession and shooting. She adds that ?as a striker I have learnt already how to position myself and how to shoot?.
Both girls say the travel experience coupled with playing games with girls from other countries and interacting with different cultures has been an experience ?:we can never forget?. According to Aweda, ?what ARS has done, I can never forget it because it is an opportunity for me to move higher?.
The Arsenal-run soccer clinic is managed by Paul Sevier and Robert Grant from the Arsenal Schools Program. Arsenal has recently signed a three-year partnership deal with Airtel which will see coaches from the gunners running such clinics at the end of the Airtel Rising Stars season.