Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, is optimistic that the Real Madrid Academy will empower up-and-coming football stars with the requisite formal education to effectively rule the sporting world.
While Addressing journalists after inspecting the ongoing construction of hostels and additional classrooms of the academy in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Wike said several footballers were short-changed in the past due to lack of formal education.
"We are combining education and football in this Academy. We felt that while they are playing football, they should be educated, so that those that may not make it, will continue with their education," Wike said.
"While those who have made it in football, will also have a formal education. Part of the problem we have had, is that most of our footballers don't have formal education. Sometimes, it affects them in terms of negotiation and knowing what you are supposed to do."
The governor also expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at the site of the hostels and additional classrooms, saying it was world-class.
"I am quite impressed with the quality of structures of hostels and additional classrooms. With what we are seeing, before the next academic session, this phase will be ready.
"This will be the best in Africa. I don't know any country in Africa that will have this kind of facility," he stated.
Wike, who is running his second term in office as Rivers State governor, noted that sports is one of the outstanding economy boosters; hence, the commitment of his administration to use it as a driving force to empower the youths.
He said: "Sports today is one of the key factors that make a nation great. It attracts foreign exchange and the rest of it. I believe that there are so many of our youths who are talented and they don't have the opportunity to bring out their potentials.
“In trying to help our youths to bring out their potentials, we should do it amongst the best. Real Madrid as far as I am concerned is the best in the world. We felt that Rivers children should go for the best.
“We thank God that Real Madrid agreed to partner with us to establish an Academy here, which will make our children play in the best teams of the world.