Officials of Real Madrid Football Club and Confederation of African Football (CAF) yesterday performed the historic foundation laying ceremony for the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt. The project is the initiative of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The foundation laying ceremony which took place at the precincts of Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, attracted the President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick, President of International Sports Press Association, Gianni Merlo, President, International Sports Press Association Africa, Mitchell Obi, international sports writers, Ex-internationals and top officials of Real Madrid Football Club.
Laying the foundation, CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad said the academy was not only for Port Harcourt or Nigeria, but also for the entire continent. He said the Real Madrid Football Academy would promote international football best practices in the continent as well as raise future stars.Ahmad noted that the timing of the construction of the academy was a proof that God ordained it.
Initiator of the Real Madrid Football Academy and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the academy would help in building a new crop of international stars across the country.He said the Real Madrid Football Academy will be open to all kids, but with special preference to Rivers Children, whose resources will fund the project.
He said: “When we initiated this laudable project, people doubted it, making different cynical comments. However, today, this project has come to fruition. It will be a solid foundation for our children.“We are proud to be associated with the best club in the world. Therefore, we will groom the best set of footballers.”
Governor Wike said that the project will be completed in seven months and commissioned for use by members of the public, adding that children to be admitted into the school will be between eight to 16years.Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick said with the Real Madrid Football Academy, Nigeria will ensure the emergence of another generation that will keep the nation’s flag flying in the international football circle.
General Manager of the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, Tareh el-Hajj said the academy was in full swing, adding that the management of the club will liaison with the Rivers State Government to set in motion modalities to ensure it succeeds.He said coaches and medical staff for the academy would be accredited for the commencement of the process.