It was a ground-breaking moment last weekend as one of the football academies in the country, Irukka and Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) entered into a partnership that will ensure young talented Nigerian footballers reach great heights within the shortest possible time.
At an elaborate ceremony held at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel in Lagos with all major stake holders in Nigerian football in attendance, the 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Seyi Akinwunmi said he was delighted with the project by Irukka with such a global football club like PSG as the platform will enable young Nigerian players to emulate the likes of Austin Okocha and Victor Ikpeba who were leading lights of Nigerians in their active football days in Lique 1.
The main objective of the partnership, according to CEO of Goal – To – Post Sports Agency Limited, Mr. Tella Abiodun, “is to create platform for young talented soccer players in Nigeria to develop with the help of PSG of France by sending their coaches to Nigeria to train both coaches and selected young players.
“The Paris club has promised to take 15 young players not more than 18 years old yearly for a week-long training tour of its facilities and if by chance, the top coaches at the club discover any of the young lads good enough, he could be offered contract,” Abiodun explained.
The first part of the project which is likely to be a talent search all over the country is on the card.
“We want this great opportunity to get to many young players as much as possible. Because players under 18 years are our priority, we have designed our programme in such a way that it does not conflict with school calendar,” he noted.
Lagos, Delta, Ogun, Enugu and Akwa Ibom states with the Federal Capital City of Abuja are the likely centres for the project camp.
In his response, the General Manager of PSG Academy, Mr. Fabien Daliem said the club is delighted and committed with the partnership.
“We are aware of great potentials in Nigeria and our club’s fan-base is growing here too. This is the reason why we have offered among other things, an all-expense-paid trip to France for 15 young Nigerians. While in Paris, they will train and learn more from their contemporaries using all the club’s facilities,” he assured stakeholders at the event.