Abuja — The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has said that it is entering into partnership with Israeli top club, Maccabi Haifa on the grooming of football talent and development of its proposed football academy.
The Assistant General Overseer (Education and Training), Pastor Ezekiel Odeyemi, stated this recently during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Regional Sports Competition of the church at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Abuja.
He said the partnership with the Israeli club would help the youths and sport as well as assist to establish the football academy the church is proposing.
He said the visit will likely take place before the end of the year.
“In fact by now we should have gone far, if not for what happened last year (Covid-19 lockdown). They were to visit us last year,” Odeyemi said.
He said the RCCG is considering various camps to site its national football academy but the camp might not be too far from the FCT, with a hint it might be in Nasarawa State where it has a camp ground.
The Pastor in charge of RCCG Region 10 said the regional sport competition was organised in order to engage the youths by leveraging on sports which has been proved to be a unifying force in every culture and every nation.
“And we believe that by doing this we are also collaborating with the government to ensure that are our youths are well taken care of and we are able to discover the youth, the talent we have in the country. When we were young, we know the strength of the football league in this country. The likes of Mudashiru Lawal were all discovered through the local league. I believe we can get back what we have lost. That is the reason why the Church is collaborating with the federal government”.
Also speaking to reporters, the tournament’s Technical Director, Ayal Raz described the initiative by RCCG as a blessing to sport and Nigeria.
The Israeli, who has lived in Nigeria for over 30 years, said he was very happy and proud to be assisting them in it.
Raz said Maccabi Haifa intends to assist the church with football equipment and to groom some of the coaches that will run the football academy in order to be able to give the boys upper level training.