Former president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Sani Lulu says plans are underway to transform his football Academy, FOSLA, into a football university.
He said the move is to fulfill his vision of giving the players of the academy the best education as they build their football career.
The erstwhile Kogi State governorship aspirant, who said the move would also help players of FOSLA Football club to strike a balance between their studies and playing football, as they now participate in the Nationwide League One (NLO).
“Basically, you can see that the NLO league is on and all my players are university undergraduates. I just need the country to create an enabling environment for these boys to excel instead of going abroad” he told NAN
“When I started this programme, I met the Vice Chancellor of the Nasarawa State University and we entered into partnership with them but the school calendar is quite different from what is obtainable in the league.
“This is just the beginning of the programme, the ultimate objective is to look for the best way to run this programme and also participate in the university programme.
“Ultimately, if there is support from the government, I should be able to establish FOSLA University where there will be no interference to accommodate their academic session.
“It was quite frustrating getting our players to combine their academic programme and football activities; we know what we went through. So, the best way to run this type of programme is to have our own University.
“And if really we have to get the best and in no distant time, we shall be streamlining this and getting it collectively done,” Lulu said.
According to him, the players are being trained to play in the elite league in the country unless foreign clubs are able to meet their demands.
“I wish the players can stay in the country after graduation so that the value of football will be so high that they will be generating revenue for not only the club but also for the Nigerian government; this is my vision.
“It is not only about getting mineral resources to generate revenue; we can generate revenue through football.
“Through this programme, we should be able to harness their talents so they can be very useful to our nation.
“I will not be in a hurry to sell them to foreign clubs but where they are so outstanding and can be rated as any other international player, not at a cheap rate, then the clubs can take them if they meet our demand.
“So, anybody who wants to take them must be prepared, if not, they will play in our local leagues and become the best in the continent.
“If foreign clubs must take them, the money they pay should be enough for me to develop others. So, the most important thing is that the boys would be encouraged to finish their education,” he added.
He noted that players would be valued more financially after graduating from the University while playing football and would be worth less if the reverse is the case.
“If a player is not educated he may be denied the minimum requirement to be an independent citizen and he cannot manage his resources no matter how much is involved”.