-As FC Matching Sports Count Blessings
Following a recent talent hunt venture in Nigeria, several officials and partners involved in the programme at Legacy Pitch of Lagos National Stadium are counting the blessings of their elaborate project, which drew up several hidden future stars. In this super spotlight, SportsDay Editor, SAM O’FEMI OLUSETIRE and domestic league expert, JEROME OBUNINTA review various angles and comments about the project…
Wolfsburg Scout Relishes Lagos Visit
A sc out from VfL Wolfsburg of Germany, John Pohlmann has revealed his delight after visiting Nigeria for the first because of this programme.
Pohlmann said he was overjoyed with the scouting programme and said that he has a lot of positive things to take back to Germany.
He added that they are happy to have a player like Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup top scorer, Victor Osimhen in their team and that they would be glad to have other talented players from such scouting programme.
It would be recalled that Osimhen had been accompanied on the trip to Wolfsburg by the coach of Ultimate Strikers, Chinedu Ogbenna, Shira Yussuf and his partner, Ariyo Igbayilola, his eldest brother Andrew Osimhen and 36 Lion CEO Liameed Olawale Gafar.
Wolfsburg invited Osimhen and his representatives to Lower Saxony to be shown around the club’s facilities before penning a preliminary contract that will be activated when he clocks 18 in a year’s time.
Before then, Osimhen had been linked with a plethora of clubs in the English Premier League including Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, and the Gunners had been favourites to snap him up but eventually failed to meet his asking price.
Sporting Lisbon, R.S.C. Anderlecht and Inter Milan had been on the trail of the teenager after he rose to prominence during the FIFA Under 17 World Cup.
He appeared three times for the Nigeria U23s at the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal, where the youngster justified all hype in his career, after which he settled down to concentrate on making waves with Wolfsburg, who once had Jonathan Akpoborie and Obafemi Martins ion their cards.
Ariyo, Shira Stand Tall
Richly gifted football players agents, Ariyo Igbayilola and Shira Yusuf are standing tall, after bringing top European clubs agents to Nigeria to shop for gifted talents that will be taken to top clubs in Europe.
The scouting programme, which commenced on Monday 21st November at Legacy Pitch, National stadium, Surulere had agents from Inter Milan of Italy, Wolfsburg of Germany, Marseille of France and Anderlecht of Belgium scouts watch and monitor young players to join any of their clubs to fulfil their football dreams.
Ariyo told SportsDay exclusively that the programme was made possible by God, while adding that the players are ready to give their best and some will be lucky to get clubs abroad from the programme.
“I must say we give God all the glory for perfecting everything for this programme to take place, it’s not by our power, but God almighty has been fully involved and by the grace of God it will be a gracious event that will bring joy and happiness to us all.
“I want to assure that good talent will be in Europe in January by the grace of God, because these agents will surely pick good talents from here. We are doing our best to make sure we produce some next generation of talents that will make this country proud in future and their family too.
“God is our source of wealth, because it’s not easy, but God has been there for us, God’s help is beyond human comprehension and all the glory goes to him for his marvellous works in our endeavours,” he said.
On his own part, Shira said it was a great programme, because some of the best scouts came to Lagos to pick top talents and he is strongly confident that new Osimhen’s, Iheanacho’s were discovered from the event.
“I believe that no matter what some players will definitely be on their way to Europe by January. Nigerians should be expecting good news, because by the grace of God a new star will be born from this scouting event,” he concluded.
Gerrad, Hedna Glad To Visit Nigeria
Jean Gerrad, CEO of FC Matching Sports, has declared that he and his partners were happy with the programme of hunting talents in Nigeria and they have no regrets coming here.
After making the trip alongside Mustafi Hedna, Gerrad promised that they will keep visiting Nigeria yearly because a lot of talents abound in this country.
They came six months ago and they came back November and it will be like that for a long time and they will keep taking good talents to top clubs in Europe.
He said their Nigerian partners, Shira Ayila and Ariyo Igbayilol are great men who work hard to get talents that can become world stars, they have been working for years and he and his partner are truly elated with what they are doing.
Gerrard said they will continue to give their best and make sure they get good players each time they come and they will be here next year again.
Mustafi also hailed the young talents that they saw and if taken abroad within a short time they will be great players. He is also happy with the reception they got in Nigeria and that the people are great and friendly people will always be happy to come to Nigeria again.
Ariyo and Shira also said they were really happy with the scouting programme and thanked their partners from FC Matching sports and other agents that came for making the exercise a befitting one.
Casado Explains La Liga’s Interest
The interest from Spain in the recent Box2Box talent hunt programme in Lagos has been explained, as La Liga Director Vicente Casado said they chose to be part of the venture because Nigeria is one of the biggest footballing nations with great talents across the world.
He also noted that the presence of former Super Eagles star, Mutiu Adepoju, who played active football in Spain and continues showing links with the country, was an added incentive for their partnership in the project.
Casado further said Mutiu’s role in Spanish football speaks volumes of the scouting programme and he was really happy with what matching sports and Box2box is doing to make sure young talents are discovered early and nurtured to future stars.
Adepoju Basks In Ambassadorial Role
Former Super Eagles star, Mutiu Adepoju played a role as La liga ambassador during the recent programme, after which he said he was thrilled by the Box2Box, FC Matching Sports project.
Adepoju, fondly called ‘Headmaster’ during his playing days, said it was a great idea to get young players to become world stars.
He acknowledged that La Liga has a structures that will help such players discovered from such programme and that Nigeria will gain a lot from this king of initiative.
“There are great potentials here and stressed that La Liga has a lot to offer Nigeria through such programmes,” Adepoju stated.
He also congratulated the organisers of the scouting programme that they should not relent in their efforts and they should always make sure they get the best from the players.
Adepoju, played for Real Madrid B, Racing Santander and Racing Santander during a decade-long spell in Spain, is now currently La Liga country manager in Nigeria, saying he will help to boost the league’s brand in Africa.
The 45-year-old was inducted as a La Liga ambassador alongside Fernando Morientes, David Albelda, Michel Salgado, Carles Puyol, Vero Boquete, Ismael Urzaiz, Cesar, Frederic Kanoute, Marcos Senna, Christian Karembeu, Milinko Pantic and Gaizka Mendieta on Tuesday.
Adepoju told supersport.com that his induction as an ambassador of the Spanish top-flight is “an honour.”
“It’s an honour to be selected as a La Liga ambassador because the La Liga is the best league in the world,” he said.
“The LaLiga Ambassadors programme has been a resounding success. It is the most successful of all the international projects we’ve rolled out at LaLiga and, dare I say, it’s even won us admiration. It’s a real privilege to be part of this team,” Liga global ambassador Fernando Sanz said at the ceremony.
The Lucky Seven
After a week of scouting programme seven players were lucky to meet the quality of what the agents wants and they will be travelling to Europe in the next transfer window to showcase their talents.