15 year-old Eken Divine lost his 3 siblings and was orphaned at a tender age. His uncle noticed his love for football and registered him at the Aba centre of the Pepsi Football Academy (PFA) in 2013. Driven by the desire to repay his uncle and emulate his idol Osaze Odemwingie, he seized the opportunity with both hands and became one of the Academy’s finest.
Nneku Joseph is from Anambra state. The 17 year-old, who is the 2nd of 6 children lost his father when he was in SS1 and was raised by his mother, a dressmaker. Recognising his passion for football, she registered him at the Jos centre of Pepsi Football Academy in 2010.
At the end of the 3-day selection exercise in Abeokuta, Ogun State which held from June 10th – 13th 2015, the two teenagers emerged, out of over 100 boys who came from 14 PFA centres across Nigeria, as winners of the Pepsi Football Academy UK scholarship scheme.
Later this year, Eken Divine, will head to Brooke House College in the UK to study and train to become a professional footballer. He dreams of playing for Liverpool FC and the Super Eagles.
After 5 years of hard work and dedication, inspired by the likes of PFA Jos Centre alumnus, Super Eagles and Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi, young Joseph Nneku can now begin the next phase of the journey to living his dream.
For 23 years, the Pepsi Football Academy has mentored thousands of young football talents, including prominent Nigerian internationals such as Elderson Echiejile, Osaze Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo and AFCON 2013 hero Sunday Mba, who have passed through the PFA on their way to becoming professionals.
The PFA UK Scholarship Scheme introduced in 2005 has now given 17 young footballers the opportunity to achieve their dreams by studying and training in Europe.