By Nwaorgu Faustinus
No fewer than 66 former agitators including some selected youths from crisis impacted communities in the Niger Delta were last Tuesday offered scholarships to study sports management fundamentals at the Johan Cruyff Institute of Barcelona.
Speaking at a press conference organized by Sia-One Sports Academy at the Uyo Township Stadium on Tuesday, the facilitator of the programme in Africa, Alhaji Faruk M Yabo, who also is the CEO of To Be Connected Nigeria, an NGO, said the course contents of the Sports Management Fundamental, being delivered in Africa for the first time, was put together by the university of Amsterdam, informing that the programme was meant to blend academic with sports education.
The nature of the course, Alhaji Faruk said, beneficiaries will combine their studies with training sessions, while in camp and also have three hours lectures every day.
He disclosed that, at the end of four months, successful course participants will be awarded foundation of sports management certificates, which can lead them to proceed for their post graduate diploma in sports management, sports marketing and sports promotion.
“The first stage of the course is four months foundation in sports management and when you pass that you can proceed for post graduate diploma and once you complete the post graduate diploma, then you are qualified for the master’s degree in sports marketing, sports promotion and sports management”, he maintained.
“Why we are introducing the course to the ex-agitators of the presidential amnesty program and young people in the Niger Delta is to give them the opportunity to blend academic and sports because when you are exceptionally talented, most times there is the tendency to disconnect from school.
“This course is providing opportunity for those players who wish to pursue formal education while being actively involved with soccer to combine academic and their football career. It is a programme for all those who want to have a career in the sports”, he reiterated.
Alhaji Faruk said the course provides opportunity for persons in camps to pursue their educational careers, noting that the programme is not like a seminar or workshop but an academic educational capacity programme that issues certificates to successful participants, pointing out that graduands from the programme will find jobs easily because football attracts attention.
He commended the Special to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme General Paul Boroh for providing the opportunity for youths in the Niger Delta to excel in sports and make it an alternative source of livelihood.
Earlier, the CEO of Sia-One Sports Academy and former Super Eagles’ National Coach, Samson Siasia expressed confidence in the programme, just as he thanked Gen. Boroh for providing the platform for the youths to showcase their sports talents through the Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace Initiative in the Niger Delta.
While giving his vote of thanks, pioneer technical director of Sia-One Soccer Academy and lead coach in the Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace Initiative’s football programme, Mr. Dipreye Teibowei also applauded the Amnesty boss for his foresight and ingenuity in creating this platform for talented youths in the region.
Also speaking, Arc. Ezekiel Nya-Etok, thanked the government of Akwa Ibom state for providing the venue for the training of youths from the region, saying that he was optimistic that the governor would give all his support to the progamme.
A youth leader and entrepreneur, Mr Jude Akpodubakaye, expressed confidence in the ability of the Amnesty boss to implement the mandate of the programme because of his background and training in the military.
Spokesperson for the beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Sports Scholarship scheme, Master Onen Emmanuel Ereng, from Cross River state, in his remark thanked the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme for finding him and his colleagues worthy for the sports training programme.
The four months intensive sports management course, which has commenced with the first batch of 36 participants out of the first successful 66 at on-going Sia-One Sports Academy Camp in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, is part of the collaboration between the Presidential Amnesty Office and Sia-One Sports Academy, in partnership with a Non-Governmental Organisation, To Be Connected Nigeria.
On completion, students will be able to apply the theories of business economics in the world of sports from various perspectives, such as sponsorship, products & services, events, facilities, media and elite athletes.
Graduates from the programme will be in a position to apply their learning to similar fields outside sports, or obtain a Master’s degree, such as Master in Sports Management or Sports Marketing from the Johan Cruyff Institute.
Johan Cruyff Institute Barcelona prepares student-athletes to become leaders within the varied business sectors of sport. Recall that Gen. Boroh, launched the Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace in the Niger Delta on May 21, 2017 at the Uyo Township Stadium.
The Presidential Amnesty-Sport for Peace Initiative in the Niger Delta, sponsored by the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger and Coordinator of the Presidential Programme, encourages talented athletes with discipline and self-esteem to take advantage to get to the top in sports management.