Football Academy in Nigeria; Top 11 Academies for Football

Football academy in Nigeria
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Are you looking for a football academy in Nigeria for yourself or a talented friend or family? This post covers all you need to know about Nigerian football academies and the top academies for football in Nigeria.

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An Introduction

A football academy is a facility where young aspiring footballers hone their skills and become top-flight professional footballers in the future.

There are many football academies in Nigeria, most of which European football clubs own.

However, some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also have some football academies. 

Related: How to register an NGO in Nigeria; Procedure, Cost

What is a Football Academy?

A football academy is often the first step in executing a “Project Mbappe.”

Project Mbappe is a common term that describes the grooming of a child, usually male, to become a world-class, high-earning footballer.

Football is now a gold mine, and many people are trying to exploit it through talent grooming.

Academies are the best places to build these talents and find the right connections to make it to the big leagues. 

Football Academies in Nigeria

Nigeria is a country with great talent, especially when it comes to football.

Walking down the streets, especially on weekends, you can find young, talented men playing their hearts out and sometimes, giving a better performance than what we see on screen.

However, if these talents are not well-nurtured or provided with opportunities, they often wither away or not get maximized to their full potential.

It is for this reason that football academies in Nigeria exist.

Players training in football academies are most likely to make it to the big leagues than their mates on the streets.

However, being a member of a football academy does not automatically guarantee a ticket to European football.

It takes a ton of effort, good behavior, and sometimes, luck to make it big. 

If you want to find out how to join a football academy in Nigeria or enroll someone, you need to explore a list of options.

Continue reading to find out more about your football academy options, and find out which is the best football academy in Nigeria. 

Top Football Academies in Nigeria

This list will take you through some football academies in Nigeria and their locations.

The top football academies in Nigeria include;

  • Barcelona Football Academy (FC Bescola)
  • Pepsi Football Academy
  • Real Madrid Football Academy
  • Papilo Football Academy
  • Midas Football Academy
  • Cowbell Football Academy
  • Kwara Football Academy
  • Milo Football Academy
  • SiaOne Soccer Academy
  • Diamond Football Academy
  • Juventus Football Academy

Barcelona Football Academy (FC Bescola)

The Barcelona Football Club Academy in Nigeria is at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Complex, Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria.

It is owned by Spanish football giants, Barcelona FC.

The football academy not only aims to nurture young football talents but to groom them on football ethics and how to professionally handle off-field football matters.

FCBescola is arguably the best football academy in Nigeria and over the years, the facility has shown that it is capable of bringing the best out of young talents.

Requirements to Join Barcelona Football Academy (FC Bescola)

Here are some criteria to meet before joining this prestigious football academy:

  • The age limit is between 5-18 years
  • Pay a registration fee (about 13,500 naira)
  • Valid means of identification which shows a Nigerian nationality
  • No life-threatening health issues

Barcelona football academy in Nigeria fees is one of the cheapest in the country.

To enjoy quality football training and grooming at that price is a steal.

The FC Barcelona Football Academy in Nigeria also facilitates the learning of languages like English, French, Spanish, and other European languages.

Pepsi Football Academy

The Pepsi Football Academy in Nigeria was established by Kashimawo Laloko, the former technical director of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) in 1992.

However, the academy got the full sponsorship of Pepsi in 1994.

It is a top-five football academy in Nigeria.

The academy has its base in the Agege Stadium, but has about 14 facilities and training centers all over the country, having over 3,000 trainees.

Members of the Pepsi Football Academy get to play on some of the best stadiums in Nigeria, alongside other benefits.

It is arguably the most popular football training academy in Nigeria.

Popular Nigerian Players who are products of the Pepsi Football Academy

Some of the popular Nigerian stars who are products of the Pepsi Football Academy include:

  • Sunday Mba
  • Osaze Odemwingie
  • Rasheed Olabiyi
  • Ezekiel Bala
  • Joseph Akpala
  • Isaac Promise
  • Femi Joseph
  • Yinka Adedeji
  • John Mikel Obi

The academy also has a scholarship scheme that aims to reward its best young talents.

Winners of this scholarship scheme get the chance to further their studies and football careers abroad. 

Requirements to join the Pepsi Football Academy in Nigeria

Some requirements to join the Pepsi Football Academy in Nigeria include are:

  • 6000 naira registration fee for applicants between 5-14 years, and 12,000 naira for applicants above 15 years. 
  • Medical report
  • Birth Certificate (original and photocopy)
  • Passport photograph
  • Photocopies of school results

You can visit their website to find out how to join Pepsi Football Academy in Nigeria. 

Related: Top FMCG Companies in Nigeria; a Complete List

Real Madrid Football Academy

Real Madrid is arguably the biggest club in Spanish Football, and in a bid to add more star players to the exquisite squad to win more trophies, the club has established a Real Madrid Football Academy in Nigeria.

Mr. Ahmad Ahmad, the President of Confederation of African Football, handled the opening ceremony of the academy.

The initiative to establish the prestigious football academy was part of Wike’s campaign promises during the Governorship election in 2015.

He made good on his promise by setting up a state-owned Real Madrid football club in Nigeria, aimed at promoting professional football in Nigeria.

Officials of Real Madrid FC and the Rivers State Government were in attendance for the inauguration. 

The academy is basically for children between the ages of 5 and 17 years.

Just like many other football academies, the Real Madrid Football Academy in Nigeria combines formal education with football training and grooming, thereby helping the students to develop both physically and mentally. 

Papilo Football Academy

“Papilo” is quite a common word in Nigeria and it gives away the founder of the Papilo Football Academy.

The Papillo Football Academy was founded by the legendary Nwankwo Kanu, former Super Eagles Captain and two-time African Player of the year.

He is also the founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation. 

Kanu, a UEFA Champions League winner, established the academy to be an incubation spot for young Nigerian talents to develop their football skills and become world-class players just like he was during his playing days.

Papillo Football Academy is the best football academy in the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria

Players that Graduated from Papilo Football Academy in Nigeria

Some of the products of the Papilo Football Academy in Nigeria are;

  • Kelechi Ihenacho, who currently plays for Leicester City
  • Joel Obi of Chievo Verona
  • Chidiebere Nwakali, and
  • Stanley Okoro A.K.A Little Messi. 

The academy also owns a football team, and as one would expect, the team has several academy products.

In the space of just three years, the team rose through the ranks to the Nigerian National League (NNL).

With the influence of Kanu Nwankwo, Papilo Academy has made some contact with English football, one of which includes four of the academy’s players being invited to Leeds United Football Club in 2018. 

According to sources, the cost of admission into Papillo Football Academy is 12,000 naira, however, you can visit the academy’s website to make more inquiries. 

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Midas Football Academy

When talking about football academies in Nigeria, you surely can’t miss out on Midas Football Academy.

Midas Football Academy was founded in 2006 and is duly registered and affiliated with the Nigeria Football Federation and Lagos state Football Association.

The academy’s long-term goal is to discover and nurture young talents in Nigeria and Africa and mold them, not just into world-class professionals, but into better individuals in society too. 

All members of the Midas Football Academy in Nigeria have a specialized profile accessible by football clubs, scouts, and agents.

In other words, the academy provides exposure for its young players.

The academy also sets up football matches all over the world where their players come to showcase their talents to scouts in attendance.

The Midas Football Academy has a training ground located at Gospel Camp Ground, Command Ipaja, Lagos.

Another Midas Football Academy location is Army Resettlement Center, Ikola, Ipaja, Lagos, where they train on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7 am. 

Cost Requirement to Register at Midas Football Academy

The cost requirement to register at Midas Football Academy is 77,000 naira.

This fee covers;

  • The application form
  • Compulsory academy uniform
  • A Compulsory academy training jersey
  • Compulsory coaching fee
  • Medical fee, and
  • Other costs.

Cowbell Football Academy

Cowbell Football Academy is a top football academy in Nigeria.

It was established in 2012 by the dairy product brand, Cowbell, to discover and groom young football talents from the grassroots, particularly for kids between the ages of 5 and 18. 

The academy has facilities in Lagos and Benin, with over 500 members.

Every year, the academy sets up a program known as the cowbell summer camp which attracts young footballers of various ages to come and showcase their talents. 

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Kwara Football Academy

Kwara Football Academy was established in 2005, courtesy of the Kwara State Governor, Governor Bukola Saraki.

The opening of the academy was handled by the President of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou.

The academy was set up as an initiative to empower the youths in the country, irrespective of their ethnicities.

It is currently located at the Kwara State Stadium Complex in Illorin. 

The academy allows students to pursue their dreams to become professional footballers, while also having a formal education.

Its members are allowed to write;

  • Standard exams like;
    • West African School Certificate Examinations, (WASCE), and
    • National Examination Certificate (NECO) and
  • International examinations like;
    • The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and
    • The International Baccalaureate (IB).

Kwara Football Academy is a top ten football academy in Nigeria. 

The students at the academy are grouped into three categories namely;

  • Junior cadre: Student of ages 13 and 14
  • Intermediate cadre: Students of ages 15 and 16
  • Elite cadre: Students between the ages of 17 and 19.

The academy is also split into three academic categories. They are:

  • Secondary School Cadre
  • Professional Non-Scholarship Cadre
  • Professional Scholarship Cadre

Admission and registration fees for each of these academic categories differ, so you’ll have to visit the academy’s website to make more inquiries.

Related: The Richest State in Nigeria; Top 10

Milo Football Academy

Milo Football Academy is another popular and prestigious football academy in Nigeria.

It is powered by global beverage company, Nestle Milo and was established to develop young Nigerian football talents. 

The academy is located at No 22/24, Industrial Avenue, Ilupeju, Ikeja, Lagos. 

Related: Complete List of Top Multinational Companies in Nigeria

SiaOne Soccer Academy

Samson Siasia will go down in history as one of the most influential figures in Nigerian football.

He is a former Super Eagles striker and coach, but he also established one of the most organized football academies in Nigeria – SiaOne Soccer Academy (also known as the Samson Academy).

The academy was established to “lift human spirits through soccer and sports,” and to offer opportunities for those who want to play. 

The academy offers benefits such as:

  • Opportunities to play and show football talent in various places throughout Africa, and around the world
  • Award recognition and certified qualification 
  • Opportunities to compete in various college leagues and local or regional tournaments

The academy is located at Suites 21/1, M.K.O Abiola, National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria.

To find out more about the academy, you can visit the website for more details. 

Diamond Football Academy

Diamond Football Academy is located in Umuahia, Abia State (Government College Umuahia Field Arena Umuahia, Abia State 440223, Nigeria.)

The academy was established to groom young individuals to become the best they can be in football, and life generally. 

The academy has a team of experienced and licensed agents recognized by the FA.

Diamond Football Academy does everything from training players to sourcing the right clubs for them and also managing their public image.

Juventus Football Academy

It is no doubt that Juventus FC is one of the biggest clubs in world football, and in Italy, no other football club comes close.

The club has set up its Nigeria-based academy to train and mentor young talented individuals.

The academy operates with a team of UEFA-accredited coaches and staff that understand the game and how to help young talents grow into professional footballers on and off the pitch.

They do this by training young talents the “Juventus Way.”

This includes:

  • Style of play
  • Technical ability
  • Tactical ability
  • Mental Factor
  • Emotional and social factor

By targeting these five points, Juventus Football Academy aims to bring out the best from its players, and maybe someday, produce a great player like their star man, Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Juventus Academy in Nigeria attends an annual Juventus Academy World up in Turin where its members challenge members of Juventus Academies from other countries around the world for top honors, awards, and recognition. 

Other Football Academies in Nigeria

Special mentions when it comes to a football academy in Nigeria include;

Nana International Female Football Academy

It is located in Ondo State, and it is a female football academy in Nigeria. 

Hoffnung International Football Academy

It is located at Hifa Street, off Church Street, Taike, Ikosi Ketu Lagos, Nigeria.

Registration and admission into this football academy cost nothing, making it a free football academy in Nigeria. 

Many other setups did not make this list of football academies in Nigeria.

This does not invalidate or berate their achievements or prowess. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Nigerian Football Academies

How much does it cost to join a football academy in Nigeria?

There’s no fixed price for football academy registration in Nigeria.

The prices differ based on the academy’s quality and prowess.

However, the lowest registration cost is about 13,000 naira and there are many academies whose registration fees are around this amount.

Registration fees for other academies may be as high as 150,000 naira or more annually. 

Related: What Currency Does Nigeria Use? Nigerian Currency; All to Know

Which football academy is the best in Nigeria?

Pepsi Football Academy (PFA) is considered the best football academy in Nigeria

Pepsi Football Academy (PFA) is widely regarded as the best football academy in Nigeria because of its outstanding track record of producing world-class football players.

However, this title is closely rivaled by other football academies such as Midas Football Academy and Barcelona Football Academy.

What is the best age to join a football academy?

13 years

Since young footballers can sign Pro Contracts from the age of 16, it is advisable to join a couple of years before then – 13 years to be precise. 

How can I become a footballer in Nigeria?

Becoming a footballer, especially in this part of the world is no piece of cake.

In Europe, it is fairly easy for kids with the talent and zeal to become pro footballers, but in Nigeria, it takes a lot more than that.

It will take a lot of hard work, patience, luck, and sometimes, connections.

However, it is possible.

We’ve seen many Nigerians make it big in the game, so it is not an impossible dream. 

Tips to becoming a footballer in Nigeria.

Here are some tips to put in mind to become a footballer in Nigeria:

Start from a young age

In the football world, age is an attractive accessory that makes a player incredibly valuable.

But, that’s just a part of it.

Start training and grooming yourself from a young age.

It helps condition your body and mind to love the game and adapt to it.

Join a football academy at a young age too, preferably 13 years or a little bit younger than that.

Acquiring quality training, discipline, and skills at such a young age puts you in a vantage position to be a superb footballer who will be easily noticeable by scouts.

Train and discipline yourself

Not everyone that joins a football academy becomes a pro footballer, so joining an academy is not a straight ticket to the No. 9 shirt at Old Trafford.

You need to train and have self-discipline.

Watch what you eat, create a training schedule and stick to it, listen to your coaches/trainees – they know more than you do, and be patient.

These will come in handy on your journey to become a footballer in Nigeria.

Develop yourself in a particular role

Everyone that understands football knows that there are various positions players play on the pitch.

There are midfielders, strikers, defenders, and goalkeepers, but even these have various subcategories.

Discover what you’re most good at and develop yourself in that aspect.

It is fine to try out a couple of positions to discover which one you’re best at, but do it quickly.

Discover yourself as quickly as possible and train hard to become the best in the position you’ve chosen. 

Being a utility player is only good for established players, not upcoming ones.

Choose a position and become a maestro at it. 

Attend and play astonishingly well at competitions, tournaments, and scouting matches

Certain moments define our lives, and for a young footballer, such moments might just be tournaments or competitions.

Make conscious efforts to attend competitions and play out your heart on the field.

Showcase your full talent and who knows? A scout might just take interest in your abilities and decide to sign you up.

Join social media platforms to showcase your skills

Social media is a powerful tool for so many things, including publicity.

Brands, companies, and industries are not the only entities that can advertise their products or services on social media.

As a footballer, you can advertise your abilities too.

Create accounts on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook, set up a professional profile, and constantly post content surrounding your skills as a footballer.

Post videos of your highlights during matches, you performing a couple of skills, or doing a social media football challenge.

Make sure you tag football clubs and academies in your posts.

It may take a while, but if you’re really good, someone will notice and before you know it, you’re on your way to stardom. 

Sign the contract

When that contract comes, sign it.

It may require you to leave your comfort zone or look like a difficult encounter at the moment, but don’t let it pass.

Sign the contract and deal with your fears head-on.

At the end of the day, you will find out that it was worth it. 

Do academy footballers get paid?

YES.

Academy footballers get paid when they play and win competitions in the academy’s colors.

Also, youth players receive a salary when they sign a professional contract. 

How do I join a football academy?

To join a football academy, you have to select one of the options.

After selection, you can visit the academy’s website or one of its facilities to obtain an application form to get started.

You will be fully enlightened on the academy joining process by the academy’s administration after making initial contact. 

Can I join a football academy at the age of 18?

To be honest, 18 is quite a late age to start considering joining a football academy for the first time.

It is often best to join at 13 or earlier.

Most people get rejected or just don’t make it to the big leagues after joining a football academy at 18 years.

However, with a little bit of luck, determination, and hard work, it is possible. 

What is the best stadium in Nigeria?

Akwa Ibom International Stadium.

The Akwa Ibom International Stadium located at Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Boulevard, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state is arguably the best in the country.

This stadium of international standard was built by Dr. Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Akwa-Ibom.

It is retrofitted with the best equipment and state-of-the-art facilities.

As far as requirements for FIFA standards go, the Akwa-Ibom International Stadium meets all the criteria. 

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Final Thoughts

Football academies in Nigeria have the right facilities and mentorship capabilities to nurture and maintain natural football talent.

They also provide exposure for young professionals, so scouts from the big leagues can notice them and probably make them an offer.

So, without a doubt, football academies are super important to achieve “Project Mbappe.”

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