Football Academies are entailed with the development of a youngster since the very first start, academies’ functions include distinguishing the talents and abilities of the young rising footballers and support them in an utmost way.
Without a doubt, every aspiring footballer from the tender age is meant to devote time to learn the rudiments and antics of the game that would make them exceptional in their chosen career, and for every footballer, we can say they are a product of a certain ‘Football Academies’.
Globally, there are lots of football academies that have firmly helped young players stayed clear of crime, and give them opportunities to build their talents, having said that, few are known for producing top-notch football stars, while some are well known for producing the best minds and legs in the game over the years.
Meet some of the top football academies in Africa that have distinguished themselves in grooming great players over the years for teams in Europe and Africa itself.
Kadji Sports Academy – (Cameroon)
Kadji Sports Academy are synonymous with grooming talents since their existence, and they’ve been able to produce quality players who have ended up playing for some of the best club sides in Europe, among the players that have passed through the academy is former Lorient star Benjamin Moukandjo, Stephane Mbia, Aurelien Chedjou, Carlos Kameni and former Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o.
The Douala based club partners with different European clubs such as OG Nice, Sevilla, Saint Etienne, and Atletico Madrid, which makes it easier for the club to transport young talented players to some of the teams once they are mature enough to play in some of the top-flight leagues. It must also be said that Kadji SA, is also a sports training and fitness center founded by Kadji Defosso.
More often than not, football academies are usually stocked up with young players from age 15 to 18 years, depending on the philosophy of the academy though.
In the case of Kadji SA, the grooming and teaching of young players started very early at the complex of the academy which is nearly about 40 hectares, with the best accommodations, well-experienced managers that would instill the rudiment of the game into the players, which also comes with academic studies for the players to prepare them for their professional lives.
Kwara Football Academy – (Nigeria)
Kwara football academy was set up in 2005 as an initiative of then Kwara State Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and it is one of the leading football academies in Africa which provides a platform for young aspiring footballers to combine football academics together while in the four walls of the academy.
Over the years the academy has produced players who were an integral part of the U17 World Cup-winning team in United Arab Emirates, Ahmed Abdul Taofiq, the academy has also groom players for Kwara United and Bukola Babes.
The academy intended in helping developing skill and professional training for young footballers also, and without mincing word the academy has experienced managers, which is one of its kind in Nigeria since its inception with over 100 students or thereabout, between the ages of 13-21 to make them one of the best players inside and outside Nigeria.
KFA is also known for hosting top football personalities, in the past, the academy had hosted top personalities both from Nigeria and outside the continent, such as Jose Mourinho, former CAF President Issa Hayatou, and other prominent football scouts across the world.
Among what Kwara Football Academy is known for is hosting a scouting tournament that would help in picking youngsters, addressing crime and drug abuse in the community, in that regard something of such came to fore in January 2020.
Mimos Sifcom Academy – (Ivory Coast)
Mimos was created in 1993 by Roger Ouegnin and Jean-Marc Guillou, ever since the academy was created it has remained one of the most popular football school in Africa and Ivory Coast, and it has produced a number of successful African footballers for the country’s national team and teams in Europe, which include former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho, Kolo Toure, Salomon Kalou, Didier Zokora, and Didier Ya Konan.
Since the inception of the football academy, they’ve been working hand in hand with ASEC Mimosas one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the Ivory Coast in grooming players between the age of 11 and 12 years. The club has given many of her academic graduates the chance to represent them when they’re of age, all thanks to Mimos Sifcom Academy.
Mimos Sifcom isn’t just a football academy, they also make sure education is amongst the top priorities of the academy in other to help players who are often seen as underprivileged from poor backgrounds, to become well-trained professionals with great football skills and sound educational background to help in their professional lives.
Pepsi Football Academy – (Nigeria)
When talking about one of the finest and well-recognized football academies in Nigeria, Pepsi football academy it’s no doubt a name to vouch for, the academy was founded in the early 1990s by the popular beverage company Pepsi, with over 14 centers across the country and over 3000 young players in the academy.
The academy has the knack for encouraging and bringing up a lot of youngsters over the years, from the ages of 6-18 years, and nurture them into some of the best in the world of football.
The academy has also produced some of the best legs in Nigeria football which include former Monaco left-back Elderson Echiejile, former Chelsea, Trabzonspor maestro Mikel Obi, Joseph Akpala, Onyekachi Apam, Vanzekin amongst others.
Pepsi academy also offers some of its student’s scholarships to the United Kingdom, a scheme that provides the players with the opportunity to advance in their academics which would be very helpful in their lives as footballers.
Diambers FC – (Senegal)
Diambers is founded by Jean-Marc Adjovi Boco a former Republic of Benin defender, Senegalese Bernard Lama, and entrepreneur Saer Seck in 2003.
When the first stone was laid in Saly, which is the Southern part of Dakar in Senegal, it’s become a professional club in 2008 and they joined the second division of the Senegalese league, but now plays in the first division.
Diambers isn’t just a football academy that nurtures youngsters into some of the best in the world, it also provides the normal school curriculum, academic triumph, and athletic achievement are on the equal size at the academy.
Since the academy was founded it has produced talented players that have been sold to elite clubs, players such as Idrissa Gueye who currently plies his trade with Paris Saint Germain, Salou Ciss, Papa Souare amongst others.
The ‘Warriors’ as their name suggest have also won their first division title in 2010, having come from the second division of the Senegalese league, since then they’ve remained one of the top contenders in the first division, without forgetting the main reason why the academy was been set up.
Katumbi Football Academy – (DR Congo)
Nurturing and grooming young footballers have been one fantastic project that has really produced a lot of benefits for TP Mazembe and the Congolese national team, albeit, they may not have won the AFCON, but they’ve been able to parade decent players in the national team over the years.
The construction of the academy has always been part of the long-term strategy which is to produce talented players for the benefit of the biggest club side in DR Congo and Africa which has been evident in TP Mazembe triumph on the continent and some of the big club in Europe.
The academy provides quality training conditions with rich programs that cover all age categories for the youth of DR Congo in other to develop their God’s given talents.
Since the academy was founded in 2012 as a social program to engage and train young Congolese youth in the province of Katanga, it’s has been able to produce quality players that would look back to where they were nurtured, groomed, and say thank you to Moise Katumbe for setting up the academy.
Midas Football Academy – (Nigeria)
Midas Football Academy is one of the prominent football academies in Nigeria, created in 2006 in other to discover youngsters across the nation and it’s a project that works in conjunction with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The idea behind the project is to help young and talented players to develop professionally as a footballer with the best orientation, which would be useful in navigating their professional career.
Midas regularly competes in international youth tournaments across the world, which is a perfect platform to showcase the talent of players to some of the big and finest teams across Europe, the academy also offers education to its players, which without mincing words would play a big role in their career.
The academy has a strong network partnership with some top clubs in Europe for its players, in other to engage them for trading and trials when they’re of age, which is very key in pursuing their career as a professional footballer.
Mohammed VI Academy – (Morocco)
Following the observation that Moroccan football lacks talented footballers in the country, King Mohammed VI proposed the creation of a center that will serve as a national model of training in terms of law, financing, supervision, and infrastructure, with this great idea, the academy was created in 2008 and inaugurated a year after its creation in 2009.
A huge amount of money was invested into creating the academy which worth around 140 million dirhams, equivalent €13 million, after the creation of the academy over 45 children from age 12-13 were the first set of players that were enrolled in the academy, with the aim to nurture and promote the youngsters into one of the best in Africa and the world.
The academy also has well-constructed guidelines of a sports study curriculum, which offers a three-level program for students with the first level being a preparatory stage to adjust them into what to expect in the four walls of the academy, the school encompasses 10 classrooms, along with a language and a computer science classrooms for the players.
Right To Dream Football Academy – (Ghana)
This great academy started it’s operation on a small scale initially by training just a few boys on a dust pitch in Accra, since the inception of the academy in 1999 it has produced players plying their trade in top clubs in Europe, and over 16 years still counting Right to Dream has kept evolving as one of the best academies on the continent.
Right to Dream also trains female footballers, and since the academy was founded by British Social Entrepreneur Tom Vernon, to provide children with an opportunity to build a better life’s, and stay out of poverty.
Talk about an achievement they’ve been able to achieve huge success with their youngsters, among them is the fact that their U18 and U15 were unbeaten for a combined total of 45 matches on their European tour.
Right To Dream is well known for the identification of youngsters process in West Africa every two years, between 15-20 students are usually selected out of over 30,000 players going through trails, to study and train at the academy on 100% scholarships.
Ligi Ndogo Academy – (Kenya)
The academy is the most renowned school in Kenya and was established in 2002, Ligi Ndogo was set up as the main training school of the Ligi Ndogo Sports Club since it’s creation some famous players have passed through the academy such as Swedish International John Guidetti and Kenyan international Ayub Masika.
The academy teaches it’s students about soccer skills, discipline, team spirit, and leadership which is their main aim in providing a suitable environment for youngsters to develop their skills as a footballer, among the method of teachings in the academy is using a well-developed learning curriculum to help the youngsters academic wise.
At the Ligi Ndogo academy, they have different categories of teams from Toms which is from the range (4-6 years), Junior (7-9 years), Lower Mids (10-12 years), Upper Mids (13-14years), and U19 years, all of these are put in place to help youngsters who have the raw talent to become great footballers, which is possible with some of the best facilities and right orientation at the academy.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
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- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.