Rivers Sports Commissioner, Boma Iyaye has said that the state-owned Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt will produce a future generation of football superstars comparable to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Iyaye stated this when he visited the Academy in company with the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Sir Honour Sirawoo, and members of SWAN in Rivers State, ahead of the official resumption of the football centre.
According to the Commissioner, the academy was comparable to any in the world in terms of facilities, content, curriculum and product.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality and pace of work so far; pointing out that he was short of words as to how to thank Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike for such initiative and commitment to deliver a world-class facility for future generation.
“I never thought it would be this huge when we started this project. I am really short of words to thank the governor, he has made sure that funds are provided for this iconic project and I am sure that our indigenes would be proud of this Football Academy.
“You have seen the hostels, the classrooms and all other facilities being put in place, this is a great legacy and we thank the Governor for what he has done. If some of us had this opportunity, perhaps we would have done great in football,” he stated.
The Rivers State sports boss stressed further that he sees future Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo emerging from the academy, while disclosing that even with a formal request for admission yet to be advertised, over 1,000 applications have been sent to the academy to underline acceptance amongst Rivers people and Nigerians at large.
Iyaye revealed that the academy was 100 per cent owned by the Rivers State Government and is the first Real Madrid Football Academy franchise in Africa with a focus on academics and football development.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on the Real Madrid Football Academy, Barr Chris Green had taken the Commissioner, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Sir Honour Sirawoo, and sports journalists around the facility.
Green noted that the methodology of the academy would be comparable to the best in the world, adding that the dream and vision being bequeathed to Rivers youth would secure their future.
“This academy will provide for the future of our youths, bring them out of the wood, create jobs and wealth for a vast majority of them. This will be a place for serious business, where the students would be given the best of content,” he said.
The commissioner after visiting the Academy and a quick dash to the camp of Rivers United Football Club, he also inspected the progress of work on the football pitches of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.