Former football Star floats Academy in Bayelsa

By Afahame Bassey, BAYELSA

A former grassroot footballer and a star of the Youth Sport Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) Awoala Kpunpamo, has said that with the proper grooming of the abundant grassroot talents in the country, the various level of national teams will have committed and dedicated footballers that can bring glory to the nation.

Kpunpamo, who won the Norway youth tournament three times with the Nigeria youth team and emerges two times highest goal scorer in the tournament, said the Bayelsa Football Academy (BFA), the football youth academy he operates in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, is to help scout for grassroot young talents and make them develop their career in the round lather game.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after watching the World Cup qualifiers between Benin Republic and Super Eagles of Nigeria in Yenagoa, Kpunpamo said already, some of his players from the academy have been signed by the Bayelsa United Football Club, adding that more club in and outside the country are also interested in engaging the young talents he currently trained in the academy.

He stated l that floating a football academy is his own way of saying thank you to the society which gave him so much as a young boy playing football in the streets of Yenagoa back then.

He said that his passion for grassroot football motivated him to form the academy as a way to helping the youth teenagers to stardom, hinting that some of the youngsters recruited from the academy are doing well in the training with Bayelsa United.

Kpunpamo, who had grassroot football stints with non-leagues sides in Norway and United Kingdom, said the academy will also provide education to the players, so that they will not make the mistakes some Nigerian footballers did in the past in signing contracts with foreign clubs.

He said: “I play youth football and I am so passionate about grass root football. I played grass root football in Nigerian before moving over to the United Kingdom. I have played for Brantford town, Halefield town, Northgreenford etc, that just a few and that are all non-league sides and they play like a kind of grassroot kind of football. We play among counties like local governments and the FA cups.

“The name of the academy is Bayelsa Football Academy (BFA), first achievement is to give back because I played grassroot football back in the days, about 20 years with YSFON and I got the opportunity to get picked to represent Bayelsa state and Nigeria, where I play the Norway cup.

“I played the Norway cup five times and won it for three times, won the highest goal scorer two times and I had a deal in Norway. For me the purpose is to give back to the youths and that why my academy is a youth academy which is age 13 to 19.

“I want to support the teenagers and give them also some bit of education as well, especially those who has not got education, so they can grow from the academy and grow into teams like Bayelsa United or any of the national or premier leagues team in the country or even abroad.

“I haven’t got any partner but at the moment, I only got a silence partner, it is just logistic and we are in the process of registration with the FA which will provide the right support for the project.”

He said the academy has engaged the services of two coaches in the persons of former FA cup wining duo of Chigozie Christopher as head coach while Teddy Blancko as goalkeeper trainer.

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