The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is to partner the Rivers State Government for the camping of Nigeria youth teams at the Real Madrid Football Academy based in Port Harcourt.
NFF’s President, Amaju Pinnick, stated this shortly after being taken round the facility by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Real Madrid Academy, Chris Green, in the company of Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye and Permanent Secretary, Sir Honour Sirawoo.
According to Pinnick, the facilities at the academy were top notch and comparable to any of the best football academies across the world.
Said he: “This is incredibly impressive. I was here two years ago when the foundation was being laid and when you lay the foundation stone, you become skeptical about the reality but this is beyond our comprehension.
“I have seen academies in other parts of the world; as the president of NFF, I have been opportuned to go round the world, what I have seen here is super, super impressive. The beauty of the academy is that it has world-class facilities, the hostel, the labs, the gym, the dining; the finishing is superb.
“On behalf of NFF, we want to commend the Rivers State Government, led by Governor Wike. When he said two years ago, he was going to complete this in record time, there were some doubting Thomases but I am here to say we have seen it. We will be coming here in the next few months with very tall football personalities to commission this project.”
Pinnick stressed further that the NFF would soon be knocking on the door of Rivers State Government for the use of the facility to camp junior national teams.
“The NFF will partner Rivers State Government in many ways, you know, we have our youth teams, we can also get them to come and camp here; because we have a relationship, it will cost us little or nothing, the camp is world-class, when you hear players go camping, it’s not in a tent, it’s a hotel and this one is beyond a hotel, this one is purpose-built for football, quite really impressive.
“I came here with Fanny Amun and you know his technical prowess. We will give Rivers State Government all the necessary certification, this is to support youth development programme, because youths are the future of the country, we need to take them off the streets, off the creeks,” he stated.
Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, while commending the NFF president for coming to see the facility, assured that the state would be willing to have junior national teams camp at the facility.
According to him, “We are very interested, Rivers state will always partner the NFF, and we have always partnered at various levels, because we have a loving governor, someone who believes that the youth are the future of the country.”