Barcelona storm Benin City for grassroots players as Bet9ja competition organizers advice teams on young players

By Nelson Dafe on September 13, 2018

Views: 2,828

Scouts and youth coaches from Spanish La Liga club Barcelona FC are scheduled to be in Benin City, Edo State to scout talented youngsters in and around the city with the aim of acquiring the services of the very best. 
A chief scout of Barcelona in the south-south of Nigeria who is in charge of the program is Anthony Jibunoh, a well-known football personality in Edo state and beyond. 
He expressed his excitement to me about the prospects of helping some young players fulfill their dreams of being snapped up by one of football's greatest clubs in the world. 
"There are so many young talents in the country who have little opportunities of being watched by the finest clubs in the world. This is a big opportunity for such players in and around Benin City to show their stuff and impress Barcelona officials," Jibunoh said. 
The program, according to Jibuno is for players who are between the ages of 16 to 18. "Barca want players who are very technically talented but who are young enough to  be improved if and when they join the club, " says Jibunoh. 
Jibunoh has been a grassroots coach and has also had experiences as a member of the coaching staff on some national team assignments. He had gone around different grassroots club sides in Edo state to scout some of their best legs and those he has picked would be the players who would participate in the Barcelona trial program which would hold on Friday, September 14.
"I really want to help take some of these youngsters off the streets. The Barca program and others like this represent a good opportunity to do that. If I can play my little role in facilitating such a positive end, I would be very glad, " Jibunoh added. 
Barcelona, like many other top European clubs are in a hunt for the top quality young talents emerging from Africa and would be hoping that finding and signing them would be as much beneficial to them as the players and their grassroots clubs themselves. 
For the players, there are no doubts that many youngsters  are showing the qualities that promise to catapult them to the very top. 
They run the gamut from good goalscorers, skillful midfielders and rock-solid defenders to exciting young goal keepers. 
There is a general consensus amongst grassroots clubs in Edo state and Nigeria that placing much emphasis on young players is the right track to follow. 
Many clubs in the past, in their pursuit for prize money on offer for winning competitions, would line up mostly players who are well beyond their teenage years. 
Unfortunately for the club's and the players as well, the older players are more difficult to move on to viable professional contracts with foreign clubs, which is the raison d'etre of the grassroots clubs themselves. 
So now, the emphasis is on having and training younger players in their fold in larger numbers and hoping they are transferred into the academies of overseas-based clubs and by so doing get a return on their investments on such players by way of training compensation and solidarity mechanism as mandated by FIFA.  
The Barcelona scouting program represents a big chance for young players in and around Benin City to see their dreams come to reality
Bet9ja organizers want young players for 4th edition of Betn9ja competition
Organizers of the forthcoming 4th edition of the Bet9ja Football tournament scheduled to take place in Benin City want to see clubs parading young players in this year's competition. 
The PRO of the 2018 Bet9ja tournament Kennedy Ugbodaga advised participating clubs to come with players who are 17 years or younger. 
"Though we haven't made it compulsory, we advice that participating clubs parade young players as these are the ones who are easier to market nowadays, " Ugbodaga noted. 
Some players who are now playing professional football, like Super Eagles left back Ebube Duru of Nigeria League champions Lobi Stars, had featured in the Bet9ja competition held in Benin City in the past few years. 
Ugbodaga also informed me that due to the high interest of grassroots clubs to participate in the competition, the sale of registration forms continues. 
The date for the draws will be fixed very soon and will be communicated to the participating clubs. 
The bet9ja Football tournament has become a major competition in the diary of clubs in Edo State owing to the good management of the competition by Bet9ja officials led by the head of the Local Organizing Committee and Bet9ja Super Agent Roland Inonoje. 
The last edition of the Bet9ja competition was won by the University of Benin (Uniben team) who surprised many with a gritty display to claim the cup. 
 •Photo shows Anthony Jibunoh with some officials of Barcelona. 

Source Daily Sports

Posted September 13, 2018

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