The management of UEFA Champions league and Spanish champions, FC Barcelona visited Lagos today to establish Africa’s first ever football academy in Lagos state.
Speaking at the Lagos House, Alausa, while receiving the senior management staff of the Football Club of Barcelona, Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday welcomed the decision of Barcelona FC of Spain to establish its Africa’s first football academy in Lagos state, stating that he was delighted with the development.
He said it was in synchronised with his administration’s philosophy for sports development, and also pledged maximum support of the government in ensuring the successful take-off of the project.
The governor who described the development as a historic moment for the state, said it was indeed a thing of joy coming at a time when the government was still basking in the euphoria of the successful hosting of an international marathon.
He said the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon was a major pointer to how Lagos could actualise its dream of improving the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state using sports as a major instrument.
“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 to this partnership because we know it will give us the first FCBEscola in Africa.
“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,” he said.
Governor Ambode, who restated the importance of sports to integration and development, said sports were the future of service to create a platform for youth employment and youth engagement in Lagos.
Director of Business and Member of FC Barcelona Management Board, Pau Vilanovai Vila-Abadal, who led the team, thanked Gov. Ambode for the support given to them so far in actualising the project.
He said FC Barcelona decided to establish 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.
Worldwide Director of Barcelona Academy, Oscar Grau, said 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, adding that players like Messi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquet, Pique, among others, all started from such an academy.
Also speaking, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, pledged the support of the federation to ensure the success of the academy, especially in terms of facilitating the necessary approvals needed for expeditious take off of the project, adding that Lagos under Ambode and his predecessors, had always been a major destination for sports.
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