By Akeem Busari
The Founder and President of 36 Lion football club, Hajji Gafar Olawale Liameed, has disclosed plans to use the world class football facility, the Lions Arena, being constructed in Lagos to uplift the fortunes of Nigerian football.
Speaking with journalists during a tour of the facility, Gafar, who is equally renowned for his astuteness and adept qualities at brokering lucrative playing deals for not a few Nigerian professional footballers, remarked that the Lions Arena is expected to contribute immensely to the future fortunes of Nigerian football.
The Lions Arena is the biggest privately owned football facility in Nigeria, that would play host to the 36 Lion Football Academy, as well as, include a 25,000 capacity top class stadium.
” The Lions Arena is a football vocational school, with total youth development facilities where we train young boys to become professionals under the guidance of certified and skilled personnel,” Gafar explained.
He stated that the young boys in the academy are scouted from schools and academies across the country. Adding that it is the aims of the academy to change the narratives as it concerns youth football development in the country.
” We have four categories of players in the academy,” he explains. ” We have the U14, U16, U18 and the Elite. It is a six-year training programme that begins with a player registering before his 14th birthday.
” Already plans are ongoing to secure mutually beneficial partnership deals between the Lions Arena and top foreign football clubs. As we would serve as the incubator of talents to the clubs,” he added.
It could be recalled that three players produced by 36 Lion football club represented and won bronze medal with the Nigeria U-23 Olympic football team at 2016 Rio Olympic games.
” We also earnestly look forward to constantly feed the various Nigerian national teams with talents from the Lions Arena. And I believe Nigerians can get Nigeria to the grand finale of the 2026 World Cup,” Gafar enthused confidently.