In response to the yearnings of the abundant talents and to direct the energies of the teeming youth population positively in Nigeria, the Southampton football club of England, established in 1885, have come together in mutual partnership with crimson sports international to establish its first football academy in Lagos. The Saints Lagos football academy, as it would be known, was recently presented to the media, at the newly built Goal Centre, Lekki in Lagos.
The academy said to be an extension of the English Premier League club’s flagship project modelled on the Southampton football club academy in England, which has produced great football stars in the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain, among others, has come to make a difference.
The academy which is taking off at the Goal Centre, facility, Lekki, Lagos, is opened to both boys and girls ranging from age six to 14.
According to the promoters of the project, the essence is to help in the development of youth leadership and taking the game nearer to those who have the ability, skill, passion and talent to bring to the fore the giant in them for their good and for the upliftment of the human society.
Speaking on the academy during the media event, Anthony Ashiwe, project coordinator, Saints Lagos Football Academy, said as an affiliate of the Premier League football giant, the academy was with a vision to add worthy value to the sports industry in Nigeria and beyond.
‘ It is our great joy to ensure that we the drivers of Saints Lagos football academy would do all humanly acceptable and possible to help develop the human society starting from where we are – Lekki, Lagos. It is a great dream we must live as long as God helping us, “ he said.
In his reaction, Mathew Sanger, Global Development Manager, Southampton Football Club, England, stated that there was a huge prospect for talent discovery and development in Nigeria, which informed the global football club to partner with crimson sports international to create opportunities for the young who were passionate about the development of their gifts which the academy has come to help such achieve their desires.
“We are here to help discover, grow and develop football stars who in the long run will make all the stakeholders proud to be a part of this novel cause borne out of being a globally responsible citizen as we all should, “he emphasised.
Tosin Osunkoya, Director Goal Centre, said the centre was of world-class standard and they were very excited and proud to be a facilitator of the crimson sports and Southampton partnership in Nigeria.
The Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Gaffar Bolowatan, who spoke through the director, school sports directorate, Dr. Oluyomi Oluwasanmi, congratulated the parties involved in the laudable project and stated that the Lagos State government was happy to be the launching pad for the project in Nigeria and her support in all possible ways to make sure people who were in the state with good intent prosper endurably.