he popular phrase that children are the hope of tomorrow has proven overtime to hold water in the society, considering the attestation of some quotas on the impact they have made as teenagers or adults in their various fields of endeavors, like sports, entertainment, technological innovations, sciences, arts among others. However, their influence in the globe may turn out to be a mirage if these kids are not given the necessary attention needed at the grassroot level to take the world by storm. In a bid to encourage and groom talents in soccer for the purpose of grassroots development, over 50 young football stars underwent series of training at StarBreed Sports Academy; an educational and physical training organization located in Lagos, which is comprised of an established plan aimed at the advancement of important and essential physical, social, mental and lifelong skills through sports . Football is reportedly the most popular sport in this clime, considering the fact that there is scarcely a location in Nigeria where one would
not find a child, teenager or an adult with a firm interest in soccer.
This probably explains the reason behind the proliferation of football academies in the country. The essence of football academies cannot be overemphasized, in time past, these soccer institutions have been the driving force of grass root development; talents are expertly groomed to become one of the world’s best and nothing short. Besides the physical training exercise peculiar to these schools, there are other programs lined up to inculcate good morals in the trainees. According to Alhaji Usman Danladi, who runs a mixed teenage football academy in Abuja, “The essence of sporting academy cannot be overlooked. It often serves as an effective ground to teach the kids some of the rudiments embedded in soccer which cannot be picked up from the streets”. Kids are taught to shun any act of violence off and on the pitch and embrace good morals not just playing soccer”. Mr. Paul Fawehimi, a fitness instructor also shares a similar view as regards the status of soccer schools, he opined, “it creates an avenue for
grooming young talents in order to uncover potentials in the positive spirit of soccer and make them understand that the game of soccer is all about passion and not just a means to make ends meet”.
He continued, “These soccer institutions also combine footballing and regular school curricula. Gone are the days when footballers were often regarded as illiterate, this time is more of playing football and learning how to read, write and solve arithmetical problems”. The director of Starbreed Sports Academy, Mr. Seun Popoola noted, “the academy is passionate about delivering high quality sports coaching and physical activities to children aged 3-14 years old. There are also learning programs for young athletes, managers, PE teachers, school coaches and other sports personnel through a series of tailored educational program”. “The principal aspect of the event, was the organized camp series which is poised to inspire soccer players to become soccer stars”, he added. Childville schools, which is situated in Ogudu, Lagos state was
chosen to play host to the football program as a result of the school’s reported interest in supporting and promoting educational advancement and the quality of sporting facilities it enjoys. Popoola, who expressed satisfaction over the kids’ level of improvement during the camping period, opined, “Talents abound in Nigeria. Harnessing and nurturing these talents is what I think we should focus on as a nation. The future of every nation lies in every child. The role of grass-root sports should be central to the nation’s sporting plans. Grass root sports will also hugely benefit from partnerships and sponsorships from private sector involvement. The idea is that when young people are actively engaged in sustainable grass root programs, the resultant effect is that immense benefit to the child as well as to the immediate community he/she belongs to”. “We (starbreed sport academy) are happy to be involved in grassroot sports development. We will continue in this way to deliver world class sport education to young people and inspire them through sport” he added.