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Establishment of football academies geared towards discovering of raw talents at their formative age has been declared as the only solution to the dwindle fortunes of football development in Nigeria.
This assertion was made recently by the former Nigerian Super Eagles Captain and Arsenal star, Nwankwo Kanu, during a football clinic held at the main-bowl of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort’s stadium, Akanran, Ibadan, Oyo state.
Kanu, who was on a two-day visit to the resort urged well meaning Nigerians and football administrators in the country to look at the less development parts of the country for raw footballing talents.
Speaking further, the most decorated Nigerian footballer who is popularly addressed as ‘Papillo’ by his numerous fans , kanu, urged every football loving Nigerian to emulate Chief Dotun Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Ilaji Soccer Academy, who has spent fortunes to set up a proper football Academy.
“The facilities I have witnessed here (Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort) since I have been in this Resort speaks volume of Chief Dotun Sanusi’s genuine sincerity for sports development in general and football development in particular. We need to pray to have more of the owner of Ilaji Soccer Academy for spending huge resources with a view to helping the raw talents in this community.
“Fine, we do talk about grassroot development but yet all we do is to look for finished products but what we need to do is to set up a football academy like the one witnessed here which will see to the proper development of our raw talents. I can assure you that football talents in every part of the country have been praying to have a facility such as this”.
On the hospitality of Ibadan people, Kanu stated that since he breezed in into the city since Sunday afternoon, the people of the city have shown him genuine love and affection, adding that the passion the people of Ibadan has for football has been translated to him.
“Ibadan is a very big city and I must confess that the people here have been very kind and warmth. I can see that the people here are so passionate about football, there is no way you can talk about football in Nigeria without mentioning Ibadan”, he said.
While commenting on the Super Eagles chances in the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, the former African footballer of the year stated that Nigeria has enough talents in the Super Eagles to perform creditably well in the competition.
“We have the talents and we have had enough trainings to do well in the competition and couple with the fact that other African Countries do scare of us because of our potentials, I believe Super Eagles will do very well in this year African Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, the management of Ilaji Soccer Academy, as part of their preparations to welcome Kanu into the Resort, organised a novelty match between the Team A and Team B of its Soccer Academy.
‘Papillo’ after the novelty match engaged the academy boys’ in a football drilling training session while also tutoring them about the basic rules of football.
In his response, the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Dotun Sanusi, commended the humility and genuine passion for raw talents displayed by Kanu Nwankwo since he has lodged in the Resort.
“Now I saw first hand why Nwankwo Kanu achieved so much in his footballing career. In him, I saw a star who is willing to inspire and nurture other stars like him for the country. We are very proud to have him in our midst. And like he promised we shall be glad to have him again mentoring and tutoring our academy lads on how to become a successful professional footballer like him”, Sanusi added.