Nigeria’s Minister of Youths and Sport, Sunday Dare says Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has laid a standard for football development by building the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
According to him, the academy is worthy and long-term investment in human and capital development that will soon be the new oil well of Rivers State and huge revenue earner for the country and many families.
“The Real Madrid Football Academy Port Harcourt, which was founded in 2019 after Rivers State was given the Franchise to operate by the Real Madrid Foundation has been completed in a record time with the main objective to promote the values in football as a profession,” the Minister said on Tuesday while inaugurating the Academy in Port Harcourt.
He said 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.
“The Real Madrid Football Academy Port Harcourt is an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of personality of our youth by creating jobs and wealth,” he added
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.
While commending Governor Wike for his vision and commitment to build the academy, Dare said, “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. “
In a remark, Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, noted that Nigerians have for years seen football as mere entertainment, but football has gone beyond that as people now make a living out of it.
“You are aware when they sold Neymar for over Two hundred and something Million Euros, one person. Calculate it in Naira. No state government can get that money in a year. One Hundred Million Euro is about Fifty Billion Naira. Two Hundred Million Euro is about Hundred Billon Naira for one player. I know how many States in this country that cannot get Thirty Billion Naira in a year. But one player is getting One Hundred Billion Naira. Gone are the days when people say don’t go and play football.”
Governor Wike said the academy which has educational arm as well, will groom both male and female footballers, urging parents to allow their children who are talented footballers to attend the academy.
“Take the best advantage of what you have. They have basketball because Read Madrid also have a basketball academy. So, we try to incorporate them. If you don’t want to play football, you can play basketball,” he added.