Posted by Victor Enyinnaya, Lagos | 18 June 2016 | 4,502 times
A United Kingdom-based Nigerian businessman and football proprietor, Frank Peters, has taken a giant step to realise his ambition of building one of the world’s best football academies. His pet project, the Real Sapphire Football Academy, Lagos, has already acquired a large expanse of land on which to build a permanent site. The club, which is being coached by Jorge Gomez, a UEFA-licenced Coach and ex-Argentina player, also plans to have its own stadium.
Mr. Frank Peters disclosed these on Thursday in Lagos during a media chat. He noted that what Nigerian football needs is the right attitude that would lead to revolutionary and systematic grassroots development of the game that would pave the way for the country to fully realise her potentials in the game at the regional, continental and global levels.
The Real Sapphire Football Academy President revealed that he ventured into the project after convincing himself that he has all it takes do it well. He disclosed that he also embarked upon series of far-reaching consultations at home and abroad before founding the academy last year.
Mr. Peters said: “I have seen lots of football clubs in Europe. After carefully studying them, especially their youth development models, we decided to come up with Real Sapphire Football Academy. I am determined to make the difference because I have seen it all; I have seen how these things are run in developed countries and I will endeavour to pattern ours like theirs. In short, we have to emulate them all in our bid to give our young talented ones the best we can. It is my desire to set such tone.”
Epe Campus of Lagos State University serves as the temporary camp of Real Sapphire Football Academy but Peters disclosed that Real Sapphire has acquired a large parcel of land at Eleko where it is putting up structures that would serve as the permanent home of the academy.
“The development would be in phases,” the Academy President said. “We will build an ultra-modern stadium fitted with facilities that obtain in football arena nowadays where young players would be developed. That is our focus for now.
“We are working hard to move into our facility by the end of this year. We are planning an academy that would be one of the best in the continent and in the world. Our main aim remains to give opportunity to the teeming talented young ones that do not know where to start to develop their God-given football skills. That is majorly my reason for coming into football.”
Peters said it was his desire to go for the best that made him to hire Italian-born Jorge Gomez, a reputable youth development coach who has the requisite expertise to drive the project. “He has the capacity to take the academy to the set heights so as to differentiate ourselves from others,” Mr. Peters said. He noted that “Real Sapphire Football Academy boasts a tested team,” disclosing that “they are carefully recruited because we cannot afford to disappoint.”
He likened the building of a football academy to the building of a house and stressed the need for a solid foundation. “We are taking our time to plan and to execute so that the foundation would be rock-hard,” Peters said, adding:
“Young secondary school lads that want to make football their career will be well taken care of. They will be housed in our ground and go to school from there. Football academy goes hand-in-hand with education; we won’t lose sight of that vital area. We provide health insurance. We don’t collect money from any player in our stable, rather we carter well for them by making them comfortable. We also fund, feed and perform other sundry duties to players during our screening exercise.”
Other Real Saphire Football Academy officials who accompanied Frank Peters and Jorge Gomez to the media interaction included ex-Nigerian junior international Francis Ogette (Sport Director), Nicholas Okoh (Asian Agent), Barrister KC Okolocha (Legal Adviser), Andrew Ejiogu (Captain) and Christopher Allanah (PA to the Academy President).
•Photo shows Real Saphire Football Academy President Frank Peters flanked by Coach Jorge Gomez (right) and Sport Director Francis Ogette.
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