The Minister of Youths and Sport, Sunday Dare said Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, by building the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt, has laid a standard for football development for others to emulate.
He said the academy is worthy and long-term investment in human, and capital development that would soon be the new oil well of Rivers State and huge revenue earner for the country and many families.
The Minister who inaugurated the Academy in Port Harcourt on Tuesday declared that the Academy will change the age long wrong perception and narrative about Rivers and Nigeria as it produces future stars for the country and also for one of the best teams in the world Real Madrid.
“Our hope is that the Rivers Academy would produce renowned super Stars that will toe the paths of the aforementioned legends. Hence, today’s event is a milestone for the actualization of a new era. The Real Madrid Football Academy has been completed in a record time with the main objective to promote the values in football as a profession.
“The Academy is an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of personality of our youth by creating jobs and wealth. The Academy divides its activities into sports, educational and cultural. This is in sync with our philosophy of combining education and sports. The speed at which this project was completed must make other countries green with envy.”
The minister noted that Nigeria is blessed with abundance of talents in football and has consistently been an exporter of footballers across the globe. He said Governor Wike has offered another opportunity to export Nigerian talents.
Dare commended the governor for his vision and commitment to build the academy which is in consonance with the federal government’s grassroots development programmes.
“This Academy would not only produce golden boys and girls, but bring prosperity and honour to our great country. What you have envisioned is indeed awesome and monumental. This Academy is simply fantastic and a monumental achievement that would inspire new generation of talents.
“The facilities are not just world class, but an architectural beauty that would bring out the best in the students. The vision of combining Sports with Academics resonates with the dictum” Sports and education are inseparable “and a cine qua non to the future of our Youths and country.
“Imagine the quantum of kids that would get quality training, education and an assured future with its attendant ripple effects on the economy of Rivers State, the country at large and the families of the beneficiaries. Jobs would be created, families would be lifted from the shackles of poverty and our sports would be the ultimate beneficiary.”
He said the Academy will further strengthen government resolve to creating new opportunities for youths who have become so restive due to economic crunch resulting in joblessness and the challenges of a new world order.
Governor Wike said he is emotionally attached to the Real Madrid academy because of his concern to nurture the talents of teeming youths sterling football skills.
“I have gone with leaders of the state to watch matches in Madrid. But one thing that has touched me is what can we do because we have a lot of talented young boys who have potentials but there is no way to actualise them.
Football is no longer a recreation thing. It is now a business. So many countries make money out of football. Look at how many players Brazil sells every year. You can imagine the amount of money they make.”
He said only Morocco and Port Harcourt host Real Madrid Academy in the entire African continent.
Governor Wike said the academy which has educational arm as well, will groom both male and female footballers. He implored parents to allow their children who are talented footballers to attend the academy.