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Technical director calls for development of grassroots football

Femi Olatunji, the technical director of Femben stars International football academy, has called for the development of grassroots footballs towards the discovery of young “raw talents”.

Olatunji said this during a one day free soccer clinic organised by the academy for up and coming footballers in Erin-Osun community, Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun.

He said that there was urgent need for stakeholders in the football sector to set up a proper developmental programme, with right people in place to improve the fortune of football in Nigeria.

“The first thing is to acknowledge that we have a problem, next thing is to identify where we have the challenge.

“And train personnel that can help us to adjust, and set up a programme which sometimes can take time, but time heals everything.

“So with us setting up a proper developmental programme with right people to do the programme, not sentiment, but with hand in mind, we will get something out of the talent we are having.

“But if we don’t have a developmental programme with a good structure, we will continue to see what we are seeing”, he said.

On the reason for the free soccer clinic, Olatunji said that it was to create awareness and to check the level of football development in the state.

He said the clinic was also to identify talents and prepare them for professionalism in football.

“We are planning to extend our network to Osun State. Presently, we are in Oyo State in Ibadan and our head office in South Africa.

“And the first thing is to come and see what is going on so that we will know what is needed and we will be able to bring exactly a tailored made programme for the kids around here in order to develop and prepare them for professionalism”, he said.

Olatunji, who noted that 18 kids participated in the free football clinic, said that he had identified few among them that would be injected into the academy’s programme.

He also urged the participants at the training not to abandon their education because of football, adding they needed education, if they aspire to go far in their career.

“As players, they are learners. They are learning the game and it is play a vital role for them to be able to even understand the rudiment of the game, how they play the game, and when to do what.

“Education also shape you. It help you to be discipline. It helped your commitment.

“Your education as a footballer might not be up to a degree or master levels, but to a level that can make you to understand what the coach is saying.

“And also to understand your fellow team mates and for them to also understand what you are saying, whether in their language or in the common language for the team, “he said.

A 12-year-old boy, Abel Feranmi, who participated at the training, said he aspired to play for Chelsea football club in the near future.

Feranmi commended the football academy for the free football clinic, adding that the experience was worth while.

Also, Owen George, who also participated in the training, said the experience he gained during the training would be of help to his football career.

George, who appreciated the academy for the free clinic training, said he aspired to play for Chelsea football club in the near future.

The players were taught football techniques and were also allow to demonstrate their skills on the field during the training session.

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