By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

Some top European coaches and South America technical football expertise has visited Lagos-Nigeria, scouting for young talented football enthusiast at the Salvy football talent series.

“The scouting kicked off on March 4th-6th, 2024, at Onikan Stadium, Lagos and Agbor Township Stadium, Delta state.

The Convener of the event, Salvation Alibor said considering the number of talents that God blessed Nigeria with in the field of sports, especially football, we decided to step in and give a chance to those that the eyes of the world can’t see.

“Nigeria is full of great football talent waiting for the right opportunity to become world-class footballers. A Nigerian player is a great investment for any football club. And Salvy Talent discovery aims to make outstanding Nigerians and football talent more available on the international football stage.

Alibor said that the aim of the scouting programme, is to showcase the talent that we have and used the platform for anyone who do not have sponsors, godfather or financial backing to get opportunities to display their football talents.

Players who are selected for the tournament will participate in football club outside the country. While those who were not picked still have other opportunity to showcase their skills and equally improved on themselves.We still have other series to come,I will advise that they remain focused.

” Apart from the encouragement,we are going to have a session with all the players so that they can work on their psyche. They need to stay positive and hopeful. You don’t give up, you must be determined.

“We can be more, as Nigeriàns what we lack is the means to succeed, despite having the talent. What we are doing is championing a path to success, so that a child of an indigent person can have opportunity to become successful in our society.
” There is a lot of indigent people here in Lagos and we created the platform for them. Additionally, am equally using this medium to support my Ika people who naturally are endowed in football, I am giving them opportunity to showcase their skills,

The promoter of the event, added that Nigeria has a treasure trove of untapped talent, waiting to be discovered and nurtured. As a sponsor of a local football club, we have witnessed firsthand ,the raw passion and skill that our young athletes possessed. Yet, far too often, these talents remain hidden, overshadowed by societal vices and stifled by the grip of poverty.

“Recognizing the immense potential that lies within our nation’s youth, we have taken a bold step forward. We have brought in scouts from Europe and South America, not just to scout for talent, but to provide our young athletes with a platform to showcase their abilities on a global stage. Our goal is simple yet profound: to give these young men the opportunity to fulfill their dreams, to rise above their circumstances, and to carve out a brighter future for themselves and for Nigeria.

“We call upon the government, the private sector, past and present footballers, and all well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with us in this noble endeavor. Together, we can build a brighter future for Nigerian football and for the countless young souls who dream of making their mark on the world stage.

“Football is more than just a game; it is a beacon of hope, a catalyst for change, and a source of unity and pride for our nation. By investing in our youth and empowering them to pursue their passion, we not only unlock their potential but also lay the foundation for a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria.

To the government: We urge you to prioritize the development of sports infrastructure and programs that will nurture and support our young athletes,also the private sector: We implore you to invest in grassroots football initiatives and sponsorships that will provide our youth with the resources they need to succeed.

On his part ,Nigerian- European based licensed football coach and manager,Victor Uzoho, said he wants to contribute to football development in Nigeria, that was why he came back to be part of the talent scout.

Uzoho added that for us to develop our talent,as a nation,we should emulate other nations and take a model that can help developed our grassroots formation this hidden talent needs skills development.

“Government need to work more and improve in the area of facilities. Incentives for young academics players should be provided. The players should be well bred.

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“Also, the welfare of the coaches to be considered and managed. He stressed on working on the technical aspect, technicalities are more, on what do they feed them with . How do you link their education and the football sports. What insurance and benefits are they entitled to.

He urged the footballers to strive for academic excellence even as they pursue stardom through football.

“Quality education is what will keep you going on for years when football leaves you because football is just for a time, and from experience, not everyone will make it in football but your education will stand you out and make way for you in the future,” Uzoho said.

On his part A foreign football investor, Juha Saarinen,said the talent he has discovered at the moment were good and he hope to work with them.

He also highlighted the need for the young footballers to play with more intensity, purpose and drive, and stressed the need for the players to concentrate on their education, saying they would rely more on it when they would have stopped playing football.

Moreso, Brazilian, football manager, with Pinda Futbol Clube,Fabio Luciano Silvo said that football in Brazil is the same in Nigeria.

“We have grassroots and professional football and we are here to discover good talent and prepare them for other big clubs to buy. Africa’s football scene is a treasure trove of raw talent waiting to be discovered. Young footballers dream of emulating the football legends by playing seeking platforms to showcase their skills.

“Scouting networks and football academies are now more than ever, investing in these dreams, provides platforms for young stars to shine.

“The bottom-line is to go to school, even if you want to pursue a career in soccer (football) and that is why I am always telling youngsters who want to play soccer that they must look at life after soccer as more important than the present time. And it’s basically education that can keep you going for years to come,” Fabio said.

The official brand sponsor Premium ESS,Dr Innocent Ekeleme said we have a bunch of talents in this country and we are set to shape the next generation of talent

“When these talents are not tapped, they become detrimental to our society. We took a step to ensure that this talent have a global exposure.

‘Beyond the economic impact it’s going to have in the country, there would be social impacts on us as a nation globally. If you go to Italy and you say, “I am a Nigerian”, what comes to mind is Osimhen,”

A Nigerian football club manager, Baraka said. “there’s still a severe lack of quality development facilities and clear pathways for young football talents in Nigeria, meaning we have just scraped the surface so far.

“With the intensifying war for sporting talent, there is a massive opportunity for those who can navigate the difficult operating terrain and identify talented athletes in the country.

Joel Udoka operates as a head coach said despite football’s overwhelming popularity in Nigeria, it’s foreigners sports that are ahead in tapping into the country’s talent pools, we need to develop our football team.

Udoka stated that for any player to succeed in football,he must be disciplined,have a dream and focus.