FCBESCOLA Lagos will produce Nigerian Messis, says Bernat Villa

Bernat Villa (second right) dishing out instructions to the students of the academy, FCBESCOLA Lagos, at the Main Bowl of the Teslim Stadium, Lagos…recently.

FC Barcelona is one of the teams known for its productive academy, the La Masia, which has given the world Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets and Pedro, among others. Now, the team has established a camp in Lagos, FCBECOLA Lagos, with the aim of turning Nigerian youngsters into football super stars.

The academy is a soccer school created to offer students aged five to 18 years the opportunity to learn the values and methodology of FC Barcelona, Spain. Examining the activities of the school, which officially began its operations on November 16, 2016, FCBECOLA Lagos Technical Director, Mr. Bernat Villa said the academy has been successful so far.

Villa, who led thorough and rigorous trial sessions involving hundreds of students and scores of local coaches, as well as a team of foreign coaches from FC Barcelona, said the school has had tremendous impact in the lives of the participating students and the selected Nigerian coaches in the technical team.

The academy, which has brought a new revolution to the sector, as well being the first in sub- Saharan Africa, was officially launched on February 25 at the school temporary facility, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

During the event, the top brass of the FC Barcelona, led by the Vice President, Mr. Pau Vilanola, officially presented the instrument of authority and power, to the Chairman Blaugrana Group International, the licensee and the promoters of the academy in Nigeria, Mr. Leslie Oghomienor. Ever since, the story has not been the same. This is so, because of the management team’s total commitment and the passion to succeed, as well as the uncommon zeal of the licensee to make a difference in the lives of the children.

During the last season, the academy participated in two global tournaments, Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain, the global yearly camp for all FCBESCOLAs worldwide and the DONOSTI Cup competitions, San Sebastian, with over 30 students and some Nigerian members of the technical team led by Villa, who is very happy about the students’ performance in the two different outing, which for the participating students is a life time memorable experience. He stated that what has happened this first year of the school is just the pecks of greater things to come.

He explained that the academy’s Elite 96 full scholarship project is opened to all but well gifted and talented young persons between the ages of five and 18 years. “In this direction, with us at the FCBESCOLA Lagos, the future is limitless. With what we are doing, our achievement so far and from the results we got, with the students in both the few local and international competitions that we have taken part, commendations and applauds we received, both within and beyond the country, as a formidable team, well-structured to make an uncommon positive difference, going with the ideals of the visionary of the FCBESCOLA Lagos, we are bold to say that with us and with the full support of the stakeholders the future is limitless,’’ he reiterated.

To live this dream, he added the academy’s focus for this season will tilt to the discovery and growing of skilled talents and to help them make meaningful progress without watering down the Barca universal values.

He added that although FCBESCOLA Lagos “is seen as elite and prestigious because of our processes and systems, principally structured to achieve global heights, it is open to all.

“Globally, it is one of the cheapest FCBESCOLAs in the world. This has enabled us to achieve our goal of giving back to the society that has made us who we are today. Thus, the academy’s Elite 96 Scholarship Project, which is meant for all provided the student is talented and has passion for selfless leadership, are chosen during trial by a well honed and technically sound unbiased selection team, whose empathy is only for applicants with gifts of skills and great talents.

“As the promoters of the school and players in other sectors of the global economy, we derive unquantified fulfillment and joy in giving these children the platform to discover themselves, develop, maximise the available opportunities and live their dreams. Our quest to be prominent part of these children’s success stories is very strong. They are our strength, with them our future is beyond bound.’’

Oghomienor revealed that the academy is poised for expansion, breaking new grounds in order to allow more children experience and enjoy the global brand leadership values. “In furtherance of this vision is the opening of the Lagos Island Campus recently at Children International School, Lekki, Lagos. This idea is meant to bring the institution closer to people in these axes who are interested, giving them easy access. Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, still stands as the academy’s main facility.

“What is on the ground that we are seeing is a challenge for us to do more and better. The season of 2017/2018 is bound to take us farther into our dreamland of progress and success, which means more work for the betterment of our well valued and esteemed children…” he stressed.

He revealed the academy’s plans to encourage more young girls, who are passionate about the game by creating inspiring platforms as enablers that will help them discover their talents. “In this season also, plans have been completed to expose the students to more value adding local and international tournaments. She will also be involved in the training of interested local coaches through special arrangement and worthy partnership projects. The stakeholders believed that if this move were given life, the Nigerian football sphere would be clear and brighter for it.

The Special Adviser on Sports to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Deji Tinubu, in his comment, said FCBESCOLA Lagos in the past one year has made a remarkable impact in the sector by training a new crop of footballers, who will be better persons beyond the lines of the football pitch.

“This is a full fledged academy running on well-structured processes and systems compared to the clinics we are familiar with. She has come to stay and make a difference. As we envy their courage, we sincerely applaud the licensee’s boldness and faith to make this happen in sub-Saharan Africa and Lagos, Nigeria in particular. Lagos State’s support for the project is intact in line with his Excellency’s four point agenda,” he said.

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