Three Kebbi Utd joins Egyptian club,2 to sporting Lisbon Academy – The Sun Nigeria

By Olanrewaju Lawal Birnin Kebbi

State-owned Kebbi football club Kebbi Utd have successfully transferred three of their players to the Egyptian club, including two youngsters to Sporting Lisbon Academy.

Mr. Pedro Batista, a former director of Sporting Lisbon, explained this in a statement made available to journalists in Birnin Kebbi.

Batista explained that the state’s football sector has made many strides in recent years.

According to him, “Some years ago I met Mr Kingsley Amunike, a former Nigerian player and now respected coach and businessman based in Sweden. Soon we started talking about Nigeria’s enormous potential in football. We have found that Nigerian players are not behind in technical and physical aspects and the biggest obstacle for them to make the transition to football outside of Nigeria has been proper understanding of the game. Nigeria has great potential but lacks proper youth football programmes.

“So we put together a team to tackle this and we looked for the best on the market, coach Telmo Costa, who has coached in the Sporting Lisbon Academy for more than 10 years, and coach Jose Alexandre, who has spent many years in the SL Benfica Academy coached. 2 of the best youth football academies in the world. Together these coaches coached players like Eric Dier (Tottenham), Rui Patricio (Roma), Bernardo Silva (Man City), João Cancelo (Bayern Munich), Ederson (Man City) and many others who play at the highest level in Europe.”

Batista also said they worked with Mr Luis Dias, the former technical director of Sporting’s youth academy, who had been coaching no less than Cristiano Ronaldo when Ronaldo started his journey at Sporting Lisbon.

He said: “We put together a project that convinced the Kebbi State Government to make things happen! Having these full-time coaches in Kebbi State, coaching and overseeing a state academy that includes 2 U12 teams, 2 U15 teams, 1 U17 team and 2 U20 teams. No other project in Nigeria has coaches of this caliber and experience working full time with our Nigerian children and adapting the methodology of the 2 best academies in the world to the Nigerian reality.

“The end goal was long-term

First, to polish from a very young age starting at U12 to U17/U20 when the players would be ready to face the world of football! But the talent is so plentiful that we get players ready for the market much earlier.

“Last summer Kebbi State Academy sent 2 players to Sporting Lisbon Academy where they trained for 2 months with Sporting Lisbon U19 team. The 2 children made such a good impression that they will be 18 in December and will be back in Portugal!

“And finally, in the international market, the Kebbi state government saw for the first time in the state’s history last January that 3 players from the government-owned club Kebbi United were transferred to Egypt. Where Kebbi State have entered into a very promising partnership with Enppi Club, a traditional club playing in the Egyptian Premier League who just defeated African superpower Zamalek 2-0 this weekend!

“But it doesn’t stop hearing, in this next summer market they have already highlighted 5 players in Kebbi who will sign for European clubs once the market reopens,” he added.

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