About 66 former agitators, including some selected youths from crisis impacted communities in the Niger Delta were on Tuesday offered scholarships to study Sports Management Fundamentals at Johan Cruyff Institute of Barcelona, in Spain.
Speaking at a press conference, organised by Sia-One Sports Academy at Uyo Township Stadium, facilitator of the programme in Africa, Alhaji Faruk Yabo, who also is the CEO of To Be Connected Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said course contents of sports management fundamental, being delivered in Africa for the first time, was put together by the University of Amsterdam.
He added that the programme was meant to blend academic with sports education.
Speaking on the nature of the course, Yabo said beneficiaries will combine their studies with training sessions while in camp and also, receive three hours of lectures every day.
Yabo also disclosed that at the end of four months, successful course participants will be awarded foundation of sports management certificates, which will enable them proceed for post-graduate diploma in sports management, sports marketing and sports promotion.
“The first stage of the course is four months foundation in sports management and, when you pass that, you can proceed for post-graduate diploma and once you complete the post-graduate diploma, then, you are qualified for the master’s degree in sports marketing, sports promotion and sports management.
“Why we are introducing the course to former agitators of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and young people in the Niger Delta is to give them the opportunity to blend academic with sports because when you are exceptionally talented, most times, there is the tendency to disconnect from school.
This course is providing opportunity for those players who wish to pursue formal education while being actively involved with soccer to combine academic and their football career. It is a programme for those who want to have a career in sports,” he said.
Alhaji Yabo also added that the course provides opportunity for people in camps to pursue their educational careers, and noted that the programme is not like a seminar or workshop but an academic educational capacity programme that issues certificates to successful participants, and pointed out that graduands from the programme will find jobs easily because football attracts attention.
He commended the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/PAP Coordinator, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), for providing Niger Delta youths the opportunity to excel in sports and make it an alternative source of livelihood.
Earlier, CEO of Sia-One Sports Academy and former Super Eagles’ national coach, Samson Siasia, expressed confidence in the programme, just as he thanked Boroh for providing the platform for the youths to showcase their sporting talents.
Pioneer technical director of Sia-One Soccer Academy and Lead Coach in the Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace Initiative’s football programme, Mr. Dipreye Teibowei, also applauded the amnesty boss for his foresight and ingenuity in creating theis platform for talented youths in the region. Also speaking, Ezekiel Nya-Etok, thanked Akwa Ibom State Government for providing the venue for training youths from the region, and said he was optimistic that the governor would support the programme.
A youth leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Jude Akpodubakaye, expressed confidence in the ability of the amnesty boss to implement the mandate of the programme because of his background and training in the military.
Spokesperson for beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme, Master Onen Emmanuel Ereng, from Cross River State, thanked the PAP coordinator for finding him and his colleagues worthy for the programme.
The four months intensive sports management course, which has commenced with the first batch of 36 participants, out of the first successful 66, at on-going Sia-One Sports Academy Camp in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, is part of the collaboration between the Presidential Amnesty Office and Sia-One Sports Academy, in partnership with To Be Connected Nigeria. On completion, students will be able to apply theories of business economics, in the world of sports, from various perspectives, such as sponsorship, products and services, events, facilities, media and elite athletes.
Graduates from the programme will be in a position to apply their learning to similar fields outside sports, or obtain a Master’s degree, such as Master in Sports Management or Sports Marketing from the Johan Cruyff Institute.
Johan Cruyff Institute Barcelona prepares student-athletes to become leaders within the varied business sectors of sport.
Boroh launched the Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace in the Niger Delta on May 21, 2017 at Uyo Township Stadium. The initiative in the Niger Delta, sponsored by Boroh’s office, encourages talented athletes with discipline and self-esteem to take advantage to get to the top in sports management.