AS Roma exploring possibility of opening football academy in Nigeria

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Officials from Italian club AS Roma and the Nigerian Football Federation pose for a photo at a ceremony in Abuja in which both parties signed a three-year partnership to share football, business and media expertise. COURTESY: TWITTER/AS Roma

Italian club AS Roma on Friday said that it is open to working with the Nigerian Football Federation and its partners to assess the possibility of opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria in the future.

The club’s chief global sporting officer Manolo Zubiria made the remarks as the club announced a three-year partnership with the NFF in Abuja on youth player development, football administration & digital media initiatives.

According to the club, the long term aim for it is to play an exhibition match in the West African nation.

“Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigeria Football Federation,” Zubiria said.

Additionally, officials will explore the possibility of AS Roma playing an exhibition match in Nigeria.

Senior Nigerian football officials will travel to Rome to observe AS Roma’s award-winning youth academy.

AS Roma said it will also assist in introduction of best practices for development of elite talent to strengthen the quality of players available to Nigeria at every level.

“The club will also host knowledge-sharing sessions on football business and administration in Rome and set up digital and social media workshops in Nigeria for local clubs and officials,” AS Roma said in a statement.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick hailed the unique partnership with the Italians and expressed his gratitude for the support they have shown Nigeria.

“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognised space and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football,” Pinnick said.

AS Roma has enjoyed a growing football relationship with Nigeria, after declaring its support for the Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup following Italy’s failure to qualify.

In March, AS Roma launched an official Pidgin English Twitter account for fans in Nigeria and West Africa which is run from Lagos.

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