Organisers of COPA Lagos, Kinetic Sports have officially unveiled the Gidi Sharks, the Lagos State team that will compete in this year’s edition of COPA Lagos Beach Soccer tournament.
The team was raised following series of screening exercises to finally arrive at total of 11 players trained and managed by Switzerland national beach soccer coach Angelo Schirinzi.
The 45 year old had over 100 players invited for the screening exercise with talents from different local government in Lagos namely Badagry, Ojo, Takwa Bay among others.
Among the players are students, artisans, amateur footballers, and a teacher.
In a chat with PageOne.ng, Idowu Akintunde who is a qualified teacher with a degree from Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, expressed optimism and his excitement to be a part of the Gidi Sharks team. He told our correspondent how he is able to jostle between his teaching job and his football career.
“It is indeed a privilege to be a part of the Gidi Sharks team. To be selected from that number of invited players is something I am grateful for, and I want to help my team win this championship when it finally kicks off- Idowu said.
“To be honest, it has not been easy combining football with my job. I am just happy that I finally got a chance to show the world the talent I have in football .
“My family supports me with everything and they understand me very well. I really want to play football but I also have to make ends meet since the opportunity had not come for me, so my teaching job is what helps me take care of myself.
Another player in the final suqad, Durosinmi Rafiu, 200 Level student of Computer Science in the University of Lagos sees the Beach Soccer tournament as a springboard for his career.
“I got the offer to participate in the screening through my coach who believes so much in me, and here I am today in the Gidi Sharks team.
“Playing against the likes of Arsenal is a big deal, but I think we can win this tournament. With the level of training, techniques and coaching we have been exposed to, I belied we will pull through.
“I believe this opportunity will change my life and take me to the next level where I hope to be in my football career, he added.
On his part, Coach Angelo who has seen it all when it comes to beach soccer said: “I remember Samson Adamu, he asked me when we (Switzerland) won the COPA Lagos last year, he asked me if we could make a similar project like the one I’m doing in Tahiti and grow up a new team, I told him of course I could. Nigeria has plenty of good technical and tactical players. So we had a fantastic project, we went to Badagry, Takwa Bay, Ojo and different locations in Lagos.
“I think Gidi Sharks can compete at a high level because this week I saw many good things. They are working hard, they are concentrated, they are serious and every day we are improving and that makes me very happy.”
The team will kick off their campaign against Pepsi Football Academy on Friday, which is the opening day of the tournament then proceed to their next match against Kebbi Beach Soccer Club before their final game with Arsenal Beach Soccer Club.
The 2017 COPA Lagos will take place at the Eko Atlantic, Lagos from Friday 8 to Sunday 10, December.
Other teams who will participate in this year’s edition are Morocco, Lebanon, Spain and the Super Sand Eagles of Nigeria.