I’ll always be of the opinion that football is the only sport in Nigeria that has the ability to unify the nation for at least 90 minutes.
Truly, Nigeria speaks football. It is the most popular sport and the most unifying bond in Nigeria.
Whether it’s a domestic competition, like the Nigeria Premier League, an international competition – World Cup, African Cup of Nations (CAF), or foreign competitions like the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League, Nigerians are committed to the sport.
Gone are the days when football was seen as a sport for paupers and street urchins. Football is now seen as big business and good footballers who earn millions daily, are now the talk of the town.
To increase the number of footballing talents being churned out by the country yearly, a number of football academies have sprung up and have been engaged in constantly producing young football stars.
Players who were discovered in these football academies have gone on to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and for various prestigious clubs across Europe.
Many successful Football Clubs in Europe have academies where they groom home-grown stars. Some of the best clubs in the art include Ajax, Manchester United, Barcelona, Liverpool, Dortmund, Arsenal, West-Ham and many more.
The major issue is how to take Nigeria football to the next level so we can compete favourably with other footballing Countries seeing that our academies fall way down below what is obtainable in Europe.
Below are a few standard football academies in Nigeria.
Pepsi Football Academy
Pepsi football academy is among the pioneer football academies to be established in Nigeria. The academy was formed by Pepsi although it was the brainchild of Lain Nelson who was then the marketing director of the company in the country.
Pepsi football academy started in Lagos at Agege Stadium but has since spread his wings to other parts of the country. It now has 14 centres across the country. There are about 3500 cadet footballers registered under Pepsi.
Football stars such as Mikel John Obi, Joseph Akpala, Elderson Echiejile, Taiwo Awoniyi and many more were discovered in the Pepsi football academy.
Football College Abuja(FCA)
Football College Abuja is one of the best football colleges in the country. The Football College Abuja is a private organization founded by Gabriele Volpi in 2012.
It was established as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by Orlean Invest LTD and is dedicated to developing young boys with football talent, especially those from financially-challenged backgrounds, in the field of education and total football immersion.
The Academy is well-funded and has some of the best footballing prospects under its ranks. FCA is headed by Gabriel Newton who was a FIFA Licensed instructor in partnership with Haruna Abba.
Football College Abuja were winners of the MladenRamljak International youth club football tournament held in Croatia in the year 2018.
They also recently won FCT Federations Cup and represented Abuja at the national level. Abuja Football College also won the Under 20 Unity Football Competition tagged “FCT 2013”, beating the likes of Pepsi Academy, Kwara State academy, etc to the crown.
Players such as Sadiq Umar and Nura Abdullahi are two of Football college Abuja graduates who play in European club Roma. Other graduates have also found their way to the ranks of top European clubs.
AFC training centre is located at Wuse, Abuja Municipals Bwari. It has a residential suite that can accommodate 120 students. It also has a college. Wendy Cameron is the Principal of the college which runs on the USA educational curriculum.
The official website and Facebook page of Abuja Football College are: http://abujafootballcollege.com
Papilo Football Academy
Papilo Football Academy is the brainchild of Nigeria and Super Eagles’ Football Legend, Kanu Nwankwo, who played for the likes of Ajax FC, Inter Milan, Arsenal FC and Portsmouth with a lot of winners medal. Papilo Football Academy was founded in 2001.
He started the academy in a bid to give young football talent a level playing field and all the best footballing facilities he never had as a kid growing up.
Papilo Football Academy is a subdivision of Papilo Football Club which is currently doing well in the Nigerian National League.
The most notable graduate of the Papilo football academy is Joel Obi who plays for Inter-Milan in Italy and Stanley Okoro of Battista, who is nicknamed ‘Little Messi’, although many other graduates from PFA have made their way to play in Europe.
Kanu uses his tight connections to bring in top International coaches like Bryan Robson, Gary Smith and others to coach the students on short courses. The academy has over 200 players in Nwankwo Kanu’s private estate at Egbu, Owerri Road.
Kanu is also reportedly said to be building one of the biggest football academies in Africa and the academy is open to Under 15, under 17, under 19 students.
Find contact details of Papilo Football Academy below:
Phone: +234 803 777 9697
Midas Football Academy
According to www.midasfootballacademy.com, Midas football academy is a football academy based in Lagos Nigeria, whose goal is to train and produce young, quality and talented footballers from Nigeria who can go on to become world-beaters.
Midas Football Academy Nigeria was established in November 2006 to pursue this mission.
Midas football academy helps young footballers horn their skills and also link them to scouts of top European clubs from whence they can now be snapped up by European club.
Midas Academy has some of the best football training facilities which help in the pursuit of its mission.
MFA has participated in international youth tournaments in South Africa, Germany, Denmark, Israel, and in a local tournament in Nigeria. The thriving football academy is affiliated with the Nigeria Football Federation.
The official website and Facebook page of Midas Soccer Academy is: www.midasfootballacademy.com
Phildan Football Academy
Phildan Football Academy is a quality football academy which focuses on training and bringing the best out of young footballers within the age bracket of 8 to 28 years of age.
Their mission is to ensure that every young footballer who is willing to showcase their talent is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Phildan football academy claims to be in contact with top football scouts all over Africa and Europe who can help take their graduates to top football clubs around the globe.
Edo State Academicals
Edo State Football Academy is one of the leading football academies in the country today because of the amount of outstanding talent which have been discovered by this Football Academy.
Just like most quality football academies around the world, the mission of Edo State Academicals is to nurture young football talents into becoming world-beaters.
The Edo State Football Academy seems to have achieved its mission when one of her prospects was named the most valuable player at the 2013 Under-17 World cup and later got signed to English premier league side Manchester City.
That player is no other than Kelechi Iheanacho, who now plays for Leicester City in England. Isaac Success who plays for Watford in the premier league is also a graduate of Edo State Football Academy.
Address: GRA Police Barracks, Adesuwa, GRA, Benin City.
Barcelona Football Academy (FCBESCOLA):
FCBESCOLA is Barcelona’s own football academy in Lagos, Nigeria where kids between the ages of 5 to 18 years can get admitted by paying their registration fee. Their registration centre is at Teslim Balogun Stadium Complex, Surulere, Lagos.
Find more details about FCBEscola Here
Kwara State Football Academy (KWFA):
Owned by the Kwara State Government and established in 2005, the Kwara State Football Academy is the initiative of Bukola Saraki.
The school runs a simple model of combining football training with academic schooling for students between the ages of 13 to 19 years.
The academy which commenced operations with former Nigeria National Team Technical Adviser, Clemence Westerhof and is now managed by a Swedish technical director, Paul Ashworth.
Ashworth has managed many professional teams in Europe including Dynamo Kiev and FC Peterborough. The academy has 7 other coaches, who are former Nigeria International footballers with coaching certificates.
The academy currently has over 150 students and accepts young talented footballers between the ages of 13 – 21 years.
Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KwaraFootballAcademy
Siaone soccer academy
Siaone Soccer Academy (SSA), Abuja, was established by the former coach of the Super Eagles, Samson Siasia. The academy aims to develop young elite footballers, who will go professional players in and out of the country.
The Samson Siasia Foundation objective is to uplift the human spirit through soccer and sports. To give a chance for anyone that once played a CHANCE TO PLAY AGAIN.
The academy offers youngsters an opportunity to realize their passion for the sport, with a chance to participate in competitive, local and international tournaments. SSA also provides coaching programmes around the country at satellite sports venues, delivered by highly qualified coaches.
Address: Suites 21/1 Abuja National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria
Phone: +23490987222 and +2347065238310
The above-listed football academies are some of the best in the country, although we have a few other soccer academies that are also doing great in grooming football young talents in the country. Tell us those you know in the comments section.