By Samuel Ifetoye
A newly-built ultra-modern stadium, which will serve as centre to develop and nurture young talents discovered in schools, was on Tuesday unveiled at New Hall International School in Lekki, Lagos State.
At the event, the school’s Director, Abiodun Agbaje disclosed that the stadium would be commissioned by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who is also the grand patron of the New Hall Football Academy, on the occasion of the school’s sixth inter-house fixed for tomorrow.
“The New Hall Football Academy is an offshoot of the New Hall International School, Lekki and from our vision statement we want to create a centre of excellence, focusing on academics, arts and sports. And that is why we have paid so much emphasis on those areas because we have found out that education is no longer about academics, as a lot of children will also do well outside the walls of classrooms,” he said.
Agbaje, who disclosed that the edifice would rarely be found in schools, especially in Nigeria, said, “We have done this by providing first class facilities. We know that it is a very rare thing in this environment. You find similar facilities in this stadium in Europe so that our children can start at a very early age.
“There is a lot of research that have been done in Europe about how Africans who start very late in sports and yet get to do well in the European league.”
“We concluded that we have plenty traits in us as Africans and we know that we can go miles if we start training these children from their youthful age. And that is one of the reasons we are helping by combining sports with academics,” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Manager/Head Coach, New Hall Football Academy, Lekki and Director of Sports, New Hall International School, Lekki, Henry Iwuanyanwu explained that the 4,300 capacity new stadium has dressing rooms for players, gym, physiotherapy room, two swimming pools, and hostels that can accommodate 300 players. He added that a 60 per cent partnership agreement was ongoing with the English Manchester City.
“The new professional football academy, which began in Lagos on June 2, 2018, is specifically for children. So, far we have done enough within the short time we started.
“Our plan is to ensure that one or two of our players will make it to international level within a very short time. We have three of our players already being invited to the U-17 national team.
“We have some sports personalities that will grace the occasion of the commissioning of the new stadium and the inter-house sports on March 16. These personalities include Segun Odegbami, Chioma Ajunwa, Friday Ekpo and the New Hall Academy Ambassador, Peter Rufai, among others.