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‘Olympique de Marseille’s OM School Port Harcourt open to every Nigerian youth’

By Christian Okpara
16 December 2020   |   3:56 am
Nigerian youths desirous of becoming football stars now have an outlet to nurture their dream in Port Harcourt courtesy of French Lique One club, Olympique de Marseille.

Nigerian youths desirous of becoming football stars now have an outlet to nurture their dream in Port Harcourt courtesy of French Lique One club, Olympique de Marseille.

On Monday, the club unveiled plans for the Port Harcourt arm of their OM School, the first in West Africa. The club, which created the OM School label in Tunis and Algiers in 2019, said it would, at the end of January 2021, open the new academy for young Nigerians at the Sports Institute of the University of Port Harcourt.

According to the club, the complex hosting the OM School programme has four football fields, a gym, athletics tracks, an infirmary, as well as classrooms, offices, a clubhouse and finally hotel residences.

They said the school is open to all Nigerian youths no matter their background, adding that it currently has 200 students who will be able to benefit from Olympique de Marseille training methodology from the end of January.

The club added that it would like to set up multiple operations, including creation of social projects carried by the club’s foundation, OMFondation, the organisation of a local competition or the foundation of a Fan Club in Port Harcourt.

Speaking during a virtual press briefing on Monday, the club’s Executive Vice President, Laurent Colette, said, “Olympique de Marseille is honoured and thrilled to open this very first OM school in Nigeria. Nigeria is a country, which loves football and strong and constant generator of talents, such as for example Taiwo who played for us not so long ago. We are delighted to share our way to understand football and values around it to Nigerian kids and staff.

“We want to create a platform for youth development and for young players no matter their level of skills. We will visit when we can travel again freely and we are looking forward to visiting Nigeria.”

Jeremy Sauvan, who is OM International Project Manager, disclosed that the club would initially have a visiting technical director to supervise the project pending the appointment of a resident “director to ensure that the right technical knowledge is imparted to both players and Nigerian coaches.”

Earlier, Director of OM School, Port Harcourt, Emeka Enyadike, explained, “our vision for creating the Vandyke Sports Innovation Hub and partnership with the University of Port Harcourt is to create a world class sports development platform across numerous sporting codes with the right International expertise.

“We are happy to welcome Olympique Marseille as our football programme partner with the launch of the OM School Port Harcourt at the University of Port Harcourt Sports Institute.

“Olympique Marseille is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and an iconic brand, and along with us, they share a flair for education, character building, entertainment and a deep passion for Africa. Abedi Pelé, Basile Boli, Didier Drogba, and Nigerian Stars, Taiye Taiwo and Wilson Oruma are testament of the platform they have always provided for African Talent.”