By Akeem Busari
Kanu International Football Academy was Wednesday launched in Ikeja, Lagos, with football stakeholders, ex players including Yisa Shofoluwe, Comrade Austin Popo, Orji Kanu, representing AFFED, players and zonal coordinators of the academy in attendance.
The football academy with over 20 centres spread across different parts of Nigeria, according to its National Coordinator, Prince Dapo Ajibade, is uniquely different in all operational aspects.
Addressing guests at the epochal event, Prince Ajibade stated that the academy, which is one of the new initiatives of Nwankwo Kanu was established ostensibly, to change the narratives as it concerns the future of Nigerian football and talents production.
” Few years ago, Nigeria ranked as the fifth football talents producing nation. Today, we have moved down to 48th on the list,” he lamented.
” It is therefore, our belief that KIFA would provide the panacea to this problem,” he enthused confidently.
Speaking further, the renowned football administrator and former boss of Ondo State Football Agency, went on to reveal that in the next few months, football enthusiasts would witness what he describes as a sports revolution.
” What King Kanu is doing with KIFA, is indeed, revolutionary. It is coming with a special kits brand, a television sports channel and of course, a collaboration with a schools’ association that would breed a generation of gifted but equally educated footballers,” he remarked.
He revealed further that the parent company, Kanu International Football Agency, is into partnership with Kanu Heart Foundation and other key stakeholders in the football industry, to take the management and promotions of football to the next level.
On his part, Kanu expressed his appreciation to the coordinators for the good works they have done so far on the project. The legendary footballer, was quick to admonish football administrators on the need to revamp grassroots football development.
” Back in those days we had all sorts of grassroots football programmes such as street tournaments, community matches and particularly, YSFON competitions.
” Even the schools competitions were opportunities for you to get national prominence and these days, the grassroots have been neglected ” the former Ajax and Arsenal star added.
He added that KIFA would be the bridge to greatness for Nigerian football.