The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has promised to support Rivers State in building the Real Madrid Academy by camping the country’s youth teams at the Port Harcourt-based facility.
Speaking after being taken round the project by the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Real Madrid Academy, Chris Green, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said the facility was top notch and comparable to any of the best football academies across the world He added: “This is incredibly impressive. I was here two years ago when the foundation was being laid and when you lay the foundation stone, you become skeptical about the reality but this is beyond our comprehension.
“I have seen academies in other parts of the world; as the president of NFF, I have been opportune to go round the world, what I have seen here is super, super impressive. The beauty of the academy is that it has world-class facilities, the hostel, the labs, the gym, the dining; the finishing is superb.
“On behalf of NFF, we want to commend the Rivers State Government led by Governor Wike. When he said two years ago he was going to complete this in record time, there were some doubting Thomases but I am here to say we have seen it. We will be coming here in the next few months with very tall football personalities to commission this project.”
Pinnick added that the NFF would soon be knocking on the door of Rivers State government for the use of the facility to camp junior national teams.
“The NFF will partner Rivers State government in many ways, you know, we have our youth teams, we can also get them to come and camp here; because we have a relationship, it will cost us little or nothing, the camp is world-class, when you hear players go camping, it’s not a tent, it’s a hotel and this one is beyond the hotel, this one is purpose-built for football, quite really impressive.”
“I came here with Fanny Amun and you know his technical prowess. We will give Rivers State government all the necessary certification, this is to support youth development programme, because they are the future of the country, we need to take them off the streets, off the creeks,” he stated.
Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, while commending the NFF president for coming to see the facility, assured that the state would be willing to have junior national teams camp at the facility.
According to him, “We are very interested, Rivers state will always partner the NFF, and we have always partnered at various levels, because we have a loving governor, someone who believes that the youth are the future of the country.”