Saturday 9 July 2022 will forever go down in history as the day the Deutsche Football Liga (DFL) inaugurated the “Bundesliga common ground” in Nigeria. Precisely in LSDPC Estate, Meiran, Ojokoro in the state of Lagos.

A project conceived in line with his drive to renovate and revitalize soccer fields in selected countries around the world for young people to enjoy the game of soccer.

Statistics show that around 45% of Nigeria’s population of 200 million people is under the age of 16, a vibrant population brimming with raw talent in sports, arts, music and others, all waiting to be developed and trained. to propel them to higher levels.

In pursuit of its sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals, various international agencies and organizations have continued to support the country’s youth by providing infrastructure development, educational grants, and scholarships in areas where they are most needed.

More recently, one such organization to recognize the pool of talent deposited in Nigeria and identify with the youngsters in the team who are hungry for success, especially in sports, specifically soccer, is the Bundesliga.

The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga recently launched a new initiative, in cooperation with local communities and partner companies, to renovate existing sports fields and build new ones when necessary, as in the case of Nigeria. In recent months, courts have been similarly transformed around the world, including in Mexico City (Mexico), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and New York (USA) and more will follow in other countries during the 2022/23 season and beyond.

Not only was the location of the field carefully selected to serve its purpose, the community, Meiran is known for its population of young people who live, breathe and eat football on a daily basis. The best players of the Nigerian under-17 team, Segun Oduduwa and Olatunbosun Rapheal, emerged from the community.

July marked the beginning of the official launch of Common Ground in Nigeria. Together with children and youth from the neighbourhood, numerous partners and famous guests, the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga officially opened the public soccer field at LSDPC Estate, Meiran. “The renovated pitch in the downtown Meiran neighborhood will get young people excited about sports and give them the chance to play and enjoy football together.” That’s according to Bundesliga International marketing director Peer Naubert.

Speaking at the event, former Super Eagles captain and Bundesliga legend Jay Jay Okocha praised the Bundesliga for its interest in youth development, describing it as the “best league in the world”.

According to Jay Jay, “This pitch construction shows that the Bundesliga has youth development in mind. He added that over the years, the Bundesliga has invested in youth development around the world more than any other league.

“I want to tell you that having played all over Europe, I have discovered that the Bundesliga is the best league and they don’t take youth development lightly,” he emphasized.

Looking back on his life playing in the German league, he praised the mastermind behind the project to invest in local communities, which he said was his trademark. “I know that this facility installed in Meiran will be of great benefit to the youth. And I look forward to discovering more Jay Jay Okocha here.”

Echoing Okocha’s thoughts, Olera Youth President John Victor expressed his gratitude to the DFL Deutsche Football Liga for considering LSDPC Estate, Meiran for the project.

“We are optimistic that the newly built facility will further expose young soccer lovers and community residents to a global audience while expanding their potential and preparing them for global opportunities,” he enthused.

According to John, the installation reinvigorated a passion for soccer among the youth of “our community and also promoted the love, togetherness and unity of true sportsmanship on and off the pitch, all of which resonate with the Bundesliga mantra # FootballAsitsMeantToBe”.

With plans in place to replicate the same project in other countries during the 2022/23 season and beyond, the newly built public soccer field has further stimulated a passion for soccer among the youth of Meiran, with scheduled daily and weekly activities. and made in the field. including weekend training, team meetings and training, training sessions for youth and adults alike, among others.

Although the Bundesliga is not the most watched league in Nigeria, this has not stopped the league management from identifying the level of talent available in Nigeria and providing infrastructure to harness these talents among the youth, to encourage them to play football as their intended to be, a commendable gesture and worthy of being emulated by other popular soccer leagues around the world.

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