Lagos, the Centre of Excellence is the site where the first football academy by the Catalans will be located in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The academy, known as FCBEscola Lagos, is located temporarily at the Teslim Balogun stadium and is modelled against La Masia Academy in Spain, Barcelona’s first football academy.
Nigeria is a country known for producing football legends and winning the Atlanta ’96 Olympics competition. The country’s soccer team is a football powerhouse and football is the dominant sport. Its record in the U-17, U-21 tournaments for both men and women has been a source of recruitment to top clubs with the likes of Obi Mikel, Kelechi Iheanacho, Kanu Nwankwo having passed through such stages.
According to the FCBEscola website Lagos, FCBESCOLA Lagos modelled on FCBarcelona’s own youth system, is a center for youth development and grassroots empowerment, using football as the medium of entertainment.
With professional nurturing from the FCBarcelona coaches using the FCBarcelona Soccer methodology, the students are taught the club values of ethics and coexistence that are representative of FCBarcelona: tolerance, respect, solidarity, friendship, fair play, integration, effort and happiness to enable them succeed in their professional soccer career at international levels.
Two academies had earlier been established in the continent, in Egypt and Morocco. The academy in Lagos was opened in collaboration with Mission Hills Group. Mission Hills Group is a Chinese company founded in 1992 by the Chu family and it was responsible for the success of Beijing’s bid in 2008. It’s a leading golf brand in the world.
According to BBC Africa, about 400 fee-paying children are currently enrolled at the school, which costs $600 a year.
Leslie Oghomienor, Barcelona’s partner and the school’s administrator was quoted by the BBC saying, “this is a Nigerian fountain that is going to sprout. Like they say about great oak trees, it starts from a little acorn and that’s the acorn you are seeing right now.”
FC Barcelona has other football academies in Asia, the America and Europe. Through these academies it promotes its brand and broadcasts its philosophy and values to the world. FC Barcelona is the only top European club that has academies in Africa.