Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode with Barcelona representative (Twitter)
With the desire to extend classic football skills and education, the Blaugrana will set up their first ever African academy in Lagos.
Director of business and member of FC Barcelona management board, Pan Vilanova Vila-Abadal has said that Lagos will host the first of the club’s academies in Africa during a visit to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday in Lagos
Vila-Abadal disclosed in a meeting with Mr Ambode that Barcelona decided to set up its academy in Lagos due to the impressive population of the state, and the opportunity to share the philosophy of the team with the state.
Also speaking at the meeting, worldwide director of Barcelona Academy, Oscar Grau said that it was such a big honour to establish its unique academy in Nigeria.
“It was indeed a big honour for the club to establish its Academy in Lagos, as many of the big names in the team started from such Academy,” Grau said.
Grau also mentioned that big name players like Messi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquet, Pique among other players, started from such academy and that the club has a unique methodology of instilling great virtues in footballers, besides footballing skills and education.
Governor Ambode while responding to the club’s board members gave assurances that the state is fully committed to the partnership and ready to give their support in at all levels.
“This visit by FC Barcelona is coming at a point where I believe strongly that we have nothing else to say than to say we are committed into this partnership because we know the partnership will give us the first FCBEscola in Africa,” Ambode said.
“I was made to understand that this is the first of its kind in Africa and so Lagos is priding itself as a major receptor of the next academy to be established in Africa. “I know that this will create a very good platform for youth development, grassroots empowerment and also for the value of sportsmanship.
“We share the same values with FC Barcelona which are respect, courage, humility, social integration and community service. So, I just want to say that you have our blessing; you have our go-ahead. Whatever it is that we need to do to ensure that this project takes off as quick as possible as a government, we are hundred percent ready to support you in the interest of all of us,” he said further.
“I believes that sports, entertainment and arts can actually contribute together to lift Lagos and Nigeria away from the problem of unemployment,” he concluded.
Also speaking at the meeting, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick lauded the governor over sports developments which the state have embarked upon in recent times, most especially the Lagos International Marathon which was held on 6th February and the recent approval from the Confederation of African Football for Lagos to host the first-ever Beach Soccer African Nations Cup in December.
“The tournament is a major qualifier for the World Cup and eight best Beach soccer teams in Africa will converge in Lagos for the tournament,” Pinnick said.
“We know that Lagos has always played a pivotal role in redefining and rebranding Nigeria, which we are very excited about.”
Pinnick aslo pledged the support of the NFF to ensure the success of the academy, with facilitating the necessary approvals needed for expeditious take off of the project.
He also stressed that the Beach Soccer African Nations Cup will hold between December 10 and 23, 2016.
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