Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr Sunday Dare has described the Real Madrid Academy Port Harcourt, as Rivers State new oil field that would not only create jobs, but also provide alternate source of revenue for the country aside oil.
Speaking during the unveiling of the Academy in Port-Harcourt, Mr Dare said “Today, history has been made with the setting up of the Real Madrid Academy. This project initiated by his Exellence Barrister Nyisom Wike tallies with government’s decision to reclassify sports from mere “play-play” to real business.
‘The Governor has gone ahead by setting up the Academy before the formal commencement of the implementation of the Sports Industry Policy which classifies sports as business.
‘We salute your vision and commitment towards empowering our Youth who constitute the majority of our population’
Mr Dare further said ‘I have been frantically searching for the right words to describe the facilities, I will simply say Its the wonder of Rivers, a new oil field.
‘As Minister and a Nigerian devoid of partisanship today, since sports is a unifying factor, I feel very proud that this lofty dream championed and executed by his Excellency has become a reality.
The Academy will further strengthen government’s resolve to creating new opportunities for our youths who have become so restive due to economic crunch resulting in joblessness and the challenges of a new world order.
‘This Academy will become a major Centre of Excellence and tourism hub. A foundation has been laid today that would endure for generations to come’
Speaking in the same vein, Governor Wike said ‘Sports, especially football is now big business. Imagine the transfer of a single player which runs into billions of Naira. No state in Nigeria can get the kind of money that these players earn. We are setting up this Academy to provide opportunities for our Youths.
‘Gone are the days when people were scared of playing football because they did not want to break their legs. Football has changed, so we encourage our youths to play football and make their lives better. This Academy will produce players that would play for Real Madrid as well as our national team. We thank the Honourable Minister for honouring our invitation to Commission this project which has confounded critics who say it’s a propaganda tool or avenue to siphoning money. I invite critics to come and see what God has done for Rivers people’
Special Adviser to the Governor on Real Madrid Academy, Barrister Chris Green assured that the Academy will live up to expectations.
‘We not only have state of art infrastructure, but the manpower to make the Academy world class.
‘Apart from the one in Morocco, this the only Real Madrid Academy in Sub-Saharan Africa. The vision of his Excellency is to make it the best in the world. The Academy will produce players that will combine football with education, cultural values and professionalism’
The Minister unveiled the Academy and took a tour of the facilities with the Governor and other notable dignitaries.
Real Madrid Foundation gave the franchise to the Rivers State Government in 2019.