LaLiga side, Real Racing Club, have cemented their brand presence in Nigeria following a partnership signed earlier in the year with grassroots side, Derby Football Academy.
Real Racing Club becomes the second LaLiga side after CD Leganes, to establish their brand presence in Nigeria.
The partnership with Derby Football Academy offers young Nigerian talents the chance to try their luck in the youth ranks of the Cantabrian club and facilitate coaching exchange programmes.
Real Racing Club has already begun the partnership in Nigeria by rolling out its youth football methodology and showing the young players and the coaches how to work with this particular philosophy.
Head of Methodology at the Spanish side, Jorge Polvorinos, who is not new to Nigeria following a stint at the academy said: The collaboration is focused first and foremost on developing and establishing this specific agreement, but the door is always open to further expansion and growth, either with local federations or with neighbouring countries.”
Interestingly, the alliance with Derby Football Academy, was easy to propose to Real Racing Club’s hierarchy as due to Polvorinos’ experience in Nigeria as technical director and coach of the U-20 side, in 2019.
“It helped me to see first-hand the high level of football of the country’s young players and, unfortunately, it also showed me the lack of opportunities that exist to develop such talent,” he said.
Regarding Nigeria’s level of footballing talent, Polvorinos commented: “This is a country that, despite a lack of both human and material resources, still manages to export players year after year. You only have to look at the national team’s squad list to see that practically all the players turn out for European teams, some of them at the very top level.”
He continued: “Having a partner on the ground, one like Derby Football Academy, allows us to not only access the recruitment of local talent but also to be able to implement our own methodology to help develop it in accordance with our philosophy. With a strong and well-established local partner, we can ensure that this type of project makes an impact in the region and that the project has room for growth.”
Apart from Polvorinos’ links to Nigeria, Real Racing Club has other connections that have made the partnership “a Nigerian deal”.
Former Nigerian International, Emmanuel Amunike, lives in Cantabria and his son is in the club’s youth academy.
In addition, a Nigerian player, Cedric Omoigui, plays for Real Racing Club, while a another former International, Mutiu Adepoju made his name at Basque country side, Real Sociedad.
At the Santander-based club, there is a believe that “in Nigeria there is a perfect combination of the three key conditions” needed for this type of cooperation: local talent, opportunities for expansion and connection with the club.
About Real Racing Club
Based in the Spanish region of Cantabria, the team is ambitious to grow its brand amongst Spain’s best.
About Derby Football Academy
Founded in 2011 and initially based in Jos, the academy relocated to Abuja, in 2021.