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.
“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.
“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.
- From: EMMAH OKOH, Calabar