The President of the Confederation of African Football, Ahmad Ahmad, on Monday performed the ground breaking ceremony of the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ground breaking ceremony of the Academy was jointly performed by officials of Real Madrid Football Club and CAF.
NAN reports that the foundation laying ceremony, which took place at the precincts of the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt, was attended by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick; and the President of International Sports Press Association, Gianni Merlo.
NAN reports that others present at the occasion included the President of International Sports Press Association Africa, Mitchell Obi; international sports writers; ex-internationals; and top officials of Real Madrid Football Club.
The CAF President, while performing the foundation laying ceremony, noted that the academy was not only for Port Harcourt or Nigeria, but for the entire African continent.
Ahmad said the Real Madrid Football Academy would promote international football best practices in the continent as well as raise future stars.
He said the timing of the construction of the academy was a proof that it was ordained by God.
The initiator of the Real Madrid Football Academy and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, noted that the academy would help in building a new crop of international stars across the country.
The Governor said the Academy would be opened to all Nigerian children with special opportunities and to those from Rivers State whose resources would fund the project.
Wike 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.”
Wike said the project would be completed in seven months.
The Governor stressed that children who would be admitted into the school would be between the ages of eight and 16.
“Sports is a catalyst for development, what we are doing is for the interest of everybody, to tell our footballers, we will do everything to support you,” Wike added.
Also speaking, Merlo said Real Madrid as the best club in the world, would develop a new set of stars from the Academy.
He said: “This is an important project for the whole world.
“It will mould international stars who will shape the game in the future.”
Pinick said with the Real Madrid Football Academy, Nigeria would ensure the emergence of another generation that would keep the nation’s flag flying in the international football circle.