Over 150 youth coaches attended the fourth edition of the Nigeria Professional Football league/La Liga coaching clinic which was held between Tuesday, 4 and Friday, February 7 in Abuja.
The NPFL organised by the League Management Company (LMC) have a partnership with La Liga and together, they have had several initiatives to improve football in the country.
One of those initiatives is the annual clinic for local and youth coaches.
For this year’s edition, the four-day clinic had over 150 youth coaches from the youth teams of the 20 the NPFL clubs, the National youth teams and other youth clubs in attendance.
The participants were trained in various ways to develop young talents using the LaLiga methodology through classroom and on-pitch sessions.
The on-pitch session featured the U-15 team of the Mees Palace Academy ofJos.
Present for the duration of the coaching clinic was LaLiga Ambassador Mutiu Adepoju while conducting the clinic were La Liga coaching instructors Diego Gutierrez Ramos and Enrique Brisach Felipe.
Present at the closing ceremony was Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare who was impressed with the level of participation from the coaches.
“I am happy I made it here today. It is quite impressive to find this room filled with existing and prospective youth coaches,” Dare said at the closing ceremony.
“The fact that this has gone on for four years means that there is a clear impact and validation as to what is being done here.
“I want to thank LaLiga for this partnership, I think that this partnership is very critical to sports development and we hope that beyond LaLiga we can get other groups to follow through with this.”
“At the very heart of football development are the coaches. When you talk about the technical depth of our teams and our players it rests with the coaches and it starts from the grassroots and then you tie that to the need to hunt for talents at very young ages,” the minister also said.
“We need the eyes that can hunt, harvest and nurture them until they get to the level we want them to. For each one of the coaches that have been trained, we hope that they will be able to spot the talent.
“The ministry has conceived a program called Talent Hunt Program (THP) which will be launched in March. The program is aimed at spotting young talents and supporting them as they grow up until we federate them to the federation.”
La Liga Country Delegate in Nigeria Guillermo Pérez Castello was happy with the minister’s recognition of the initiative and the LMC for the partnership.
“This is the fourth edition and we are seeing the results, and there is much more to come in the upcoming years,” Castello said.
“I hope the coaches had a good time and found the seminar useful. We are even more excited about the upcoming U-15 promises tournament coming in April where we hope the coaches put in what they have learnt here into the practice.”
As part of LaLiga’s commitment to talent development and exposure, in 2019 LaLiga had the MVP of the U-15 tournament Peter Joel trained with the Malaga youth club in Spain for 10 days.
Since the kick of the partnership between La Liga and the NPFL IN 2016, there have been several initiatives like the NPFL U15 competition, a tour of Spain by an NPFL All-Star team and the Atletico Madrid Vs Super Eagles all-star friendly match in June 2018.
The 2020 U-15 tournament will take place in April 2020 across the nation.