The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has called for partnership with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), in its plans to set up two football academies in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, made the proposal when the NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, led a delegation of the federation to pay him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
He declared: “I want to invite the NFF to collaborate with the NDDC to support the game of football in the Niger Delta. We are in the process of setting up football academies in the Niger Delta region. The NDDC Board has already approved it and we want to start with two football academies.
“We believe that it is one of the ways of taking our youths off militancy and getting them meaningfully engaged. We hope to give them the opportunity to develop their talents and empower them because football is now big business and a good source of employment.”
Ekere said that the NDDC would encourage Niger Delta youths to take to football as a profession and that was the essence of setting up the football academy. According to him, “that is why we need the technical support of the NFF so that the venture will become a success. There will also be need to link up the beneficiaries of the academies to international opportunities.”
The NDDC boss expressed delight that under Pinnick, “a proud son of the Niger Delta” Nigerian football was reclaiming its lost glory.
He said further: “I want to congratulate you and members of your team for what you have done for Nigerian football. You have brought back our lost glory. You also brought back the pride of Nigerian football. You have given us reason to be proud again as Nigerians. You have elevated Nigeria to a position where the entire world will pay attention when Nigeria is mentioned in football.”
Ekere expressed delight that the NFF had been able to tap into the talents of Niger Delta youths, giving them support and inspiration needed to excel. He said the NDDC will stand by the NFF and the Super Eagles for success at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Speaking, NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, acknowledged the role of NDDC in developing Niger Delta region, saying “I am proud to say that the nines states of the region account for about 50 per cent of all the players in our national teams. Even for the inaugural Under-17 team that won the World Cup in 1985, Niger Delta provided most of the players.”
“We want to prepare the players properly and we want the NDDC to support us to produce productive youths in the region”, Pinnick said.