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Nigerian Football

Calabar Gets Private Soccer Academy

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The first private-owned football academy, Pythagorean Academy and Robusto Sarl, PARS, has officially opened in Calabar, South Eastern Nigeria.

The academy, with Swiss partnership, was fully registered with FA in Cross River and the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in 2016 has trained medical experts who attend to health of footballers.

The academy came into being in August 2016 with 20 players within the age bracket of 15 and 19 years

In his address, during the opening ceremony/launching of the academy in Calabar recently, the Chairman of PARS, Mr Henry Ojugu, lamented that despite the rich history of Cross River state the state hardly boast of first line player in the national team, let alone in the international arena.

He said that one of the major pre-occupation of the academy is to build champions and not mediocre players, adding that Pythagorean not only train young people how to play football alone, but also teach young players much about discipline, excellence, attitude that will help young footballers attack the future.

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“We are rolling male football professionals and the secretariat has all information for enrolment, just on Thursday this week, we played against Rovers Football Club but we unfortunately had a draw game; next time we shall beat them ”Ojugo said.

Declaring the academy open, the Technical director of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Mr Bitru Bewarang, said the federation is set to partner with management of PARS Football Academy, Calabar in the promotion of grassroots soccer in the country.

Bewarang, said the federation will never allow the academy`s footballers to be taken abroad on slavery and commended the management for putting in modern sports facilities,.

The Technical Director enjoined them to aggressively seek for sponsors to be able to remain in business just as NFF will give them necessary support to succeed.

He said: “For this singular initiative to have invested in such area of human capital potential and for not thinking like most Nigerians, who prefer to put their monies in ventures that they can reap quick rewards, NFF weight is solidly behind the academy.

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“We remain a bulwark to ensure that this project survives. What I have seen here is more than enough to make NFF give approval; PARS Academy has passed the test of becoming an academy.”

The NFF Technical Director further enjoined Cross Riverians to support the academy and urged the management of Pythagorean to aggressively seek for sponsors if they are interested to see the academy succeed.

Speaking also,  the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. John Gaul Lebo has urged the students of Pythagorean Academy to focus not only their attention in learning how to play football alone, but play football alongside with education.

“As you play football think of education, as you are here, your coach is going to be like your next God, take whatever that you are thought, your future lies in your hands” the Speaker said although learning how to play football is a noble idea, but it has to be done alongside with education so that even when football career crashed perhaps due to injury in the future the footballer can still stand the chance of fending for themselves.

“This is the field that will build your career in life, you cannot play football and forget education, if you abandoned education and follow football alone you not survive when your career fades,” Lebo said.

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  • From: EMMAH OKOH, Calabar

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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