In its bid to raise the ante of Nigeria Club football and expose budding soccer talents to the professional standard, the League Management Company put together an ideal platform – the NPFL/Laliga U15 Promises Tournament- for Nigerian Clubs participating in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Enyimba International Football Club was, of course, not left out. Though the Baby Elephants did not come to the big party by way of getting through to the quarterfinals from group A, there were positives and notes to be taken.
I am not here to lament over the obvious lack of preparedness and other logistics problems that culminated the flop of the U15 Enyimba in the tourney. This post is to take notes of what one observed and how, going forward, the stake holders in Enyimba will see to it that the dreams and aspirations of the lads who donned, at their teen age, the blue jersey venerated by generations of admirers will continue to blossom.
I did like to say that the tourney was organized with no financial incentives for the winner, thus eliminating any intent for clubs to cheat, age wise.
On the one hand, this is setting an authentic structure where players can be developed to become part of the main Enyimba squad. Today, we admire the likes of Messi, Iniesta, Bosquet who have become the back bone of Spanish side, Barcelona, but much credit is always given to the La Masia where these talents where nurtured and gradually integrated into the philosophy of the Football Club of Barcelona. It can be achieved with this U15 crusade. This is to say that this tourney should not be taken for granted or trade blames for the poor run recorded in the debut edition, rather preparations for the next episode should begin immediately.
On the other hand, these are potential streams of income. You wonder how the football academy works in other climes such as in Europe or South America, how young players get recruited and transformed into fine footballers so that hard currencies are splashed to lure them to big clubs. In Europe, for instance clubs have futsal teams where athletes are recruited right from the age of 5 and from there they get into the youth cadre and the rest becomes history. That’s the secret and it has been unfolded before us by way of the NPFL La Liga U-15 Promises Tournaments. If, with consistency and dedication the kids who graced this edition are mentored and taught the essence of football, it is certain that, in the coming years, there will be nothing short of great talents who will be ripe to play and solidify the Enyimba squad and there shall be constant production to put in the market.
This will also help to stabilize the tradition of having footballers that will want to emulate the successes of a particular generation. One of the lads, the skipper of the Baby Elephants stating that he would love to play for Enyimba and he sees former skipper, Chinedu Udoji as a role model. Consider other lads who have hard the opportunity to watch their seniors do the business on the pitch and how eager they are to take over the reigns.
Speaking to some other kids, one gathered that they want to play for Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc. They have seen it all and that is where they want to go. Even if they couldn’t locate Spain on a map, that’s where their heart is. They have been inspired, playing for their home clubs, so there should be, to a large degree a spontaneous development of these talents, on one end. On the other end you have Enyimba making money out it.
This beautiful post was written by John Paul Nnamdi. You’re the judge of how excellent a piece it is. Follow him on Twitter @jpnnamdi
It’s a late post today but better late than never.
One last thing, Happy Birthday Ejim Tony. One of our regular visitors here and staunch Enyimba fan. God bless and increase you Sir, In Jesus Name, Amen.