The Nigerian Football Federation on Friday announced a multi-year partnership it secured with top Italian football club, AS Roma.
According to a press release, the partnership, will see the NFF and Roma collaborate both on and off the pitch, with one long term objective being for the club to help further grow and improve all levels of football in Nigeria.
Under the terms of the understanding, the two parties will share football, business and media expertise, with Roma offering the NFF technical and operational support and advice in the areas of youth coaching, player development, football administration and digital media best practices.
In return, the NFF will also collaborate with the AS Roma in their projects and development initiatives in Nigeria.
In the coming months, senior NFF officials will travel to the Italian capital to observe Roma’s award-winning youth academy.
As technical advisors in player development, Roma will work with the NFF to help introduce best practices for developing elite talent in order to improve the quality of players available to our domestic clubs and indeed national squad at all age groups.
Roma will also host knowledge-sharing sessions on football business and administration in Rome and set up digital and social media workshops in Nigeria for local clubs and officials.
On hand at the unveiling ceremony were NFF President Amaju Pinnick and his Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko alongside the entire Board members of the NFF and AS Roma’s Head of Academy, Massimo Tarantino and Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at Roma.
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Olusade Adesola were on hand to also endorses the partnership.
“We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma,” said NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognized space in-spite of the avoidable distractions and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football. Roma is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, with a very good reputation for consistently developing talented young players. We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole. Roma have shown an incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans, even launching a Pidgin Twitter account, and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”
Manolo Zubiria, Chief Global Sport Officer at AS Roma, added: “This promises to be an exciting and ground-breaking partnership for both parties.
“This club is known throughout football for having one of the most accomplished youth development programmes in the world and in recent years, Roma has developed more players who’ve gone on to play professionally than any other club in Italy.
“Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigerian Football Federation.
“We’re also open to working with the NFF and their partners to assess the feasibility of one day opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria.”
The two parties have also agreed to explore the possibility of AS Roma playing an exhibition match in Nigeria – something that club president Jim Pallotta has championed for some time.
“This partnership is the natural evolution of the great relationship between the NFF and Roma that began when Roma announced that with Italy absent from the World Cup, we would be supporting Nigeria,” said Paul Rogers, who travel to Abuja along side Massimo Tarantino to agree the partnership.
“Roma’s digital team began working with the Super Eagles in 2018 on their social media coverage of the World Cup and earlier this year, we again worked with Nigeria during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Through our unique use of social media, and initially using the hashtag #ForzaSuperEagles, we’ve developed an incredible and fun rapport with Nigerian football fans, media and celebrities and earlier this year we became the first club outside of Nigeria to launch an official Pidgin account, which is managed in Lagos.
Jim Pallotta, Roma’s President, has made no secret of his wish to see Roma play a match in Nigeria as a thank you to the Nigerian fans for the support they have shown us and it would be great if through this partnership, we can make that happen.”