By Ibraheem Solahudeen.
The Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Football Club yesterday in Lagos signed a historic and developmental partnership deal with Kanu International Football Academy.
Senator Saraki, who is the immediate past Senate President, is one of the few private owners of football clubs in Nigeria.
Represented at the event by ABS FC’s Director of Football, Alloy Chukwuemeka, Saraki remarked that “the essence of establishing his football team is to give thousands of talented, but hapless Nigerian youths a leeway in life and help them chart a positive path for their careers.”
He also reiterated his desires for the continued growth and development of the Nigerian youth, while expressing the hope that the pact between his team, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club( ABS) and Africa’s largest football academy, Kanu International Football Academy(KIFA) would foster that aspiration.
“We are truly committed to the development of Nigerian football, particularly at the grassroots level which is home to millions of immensely talented young Nigerians.
“This historic partnership with Kanu International Football Academy, which is one of the better organized and largest in Nigeria and Africa, is strategic and very important to the ideas behind the establishment of Abubakar Bukola Saraki football club. And with this partnership, Nigerian football can only get better,” Chukwuemeka, a renowned sports journalist cum football administrator said on behalf of Dr. Saraki.
In his reaction, the Director-General of Kanu International Football Academy, Prince Dapo Ajibade expressed his excitement at the signing of the partnership with ABS FC, which he described as a great move that would positively change the narratives as it concerns grassroots football development in Nigeria.
He said, “This partnership is a great move that will certainly impact positively on the fortunes of Nigerian football and thousands of gifted but hapless Nigerian youths. At KIFA, we have the largest pool of young and talented footballers in our well manned 100 centres of excellence, spread across the 36 states and FCT in Nigeria.
“I can confidently state that the future of Nigerian football is positively secured. While KIFA discovers, ABS will develop, and that is the way forward for our football.”
It should be recalled that this is not the first time Dr. Bukola Saraki would be empowering and engineering youth development through sport. During his time as Governor of Kwara State between 2003 to 2011, he established the prestigious Kwara Football Academy, which has trained so many youths in football skills. Many of those who passed through the academy have emerged prize winners at both national and international football clubs and teams.