Adeshina Araoye, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort says Nationwide League One (NLO) side Ilaji FC will help to get back the lost glory in the beautiful round leather game.
According to Araoye in an exclusive chat, “Our long term plan at Ilaji FC is to be the center of excellence. That’s a place were majority of top players will be feed to the European and clubs around the world.
“I believe we are heading towards that direction as on a quarterly based the minimum number of players that have been picked from Ilaji FC is 10. By the time we have these players ply their trade in other countries, they will come back and make an impact in the various Nigerian national teams.”
On aspect of funds, “I quite agree with you that football is capital intensive if you want to run it professionally well. Apart from having standard facilities, you also need the personal. That’s the technical crew, which we have and the best one can get at the NLO level and this requires a lot of funds.
“I may not be actual with the funds invested into Ilaji FC so far in Naira and Kobo but apart from that we have partnership and strategic alliances with a number of European clubs.
“We started with Swieqi United of Malta where we have two players in their ranks. Then there’s is one with Spanish LaLiga Segunda side Malaga, and we have a football team that is meant for that which is the Ilaji Malaga team which we are grooming.
“Aside that, we have regular Scouting Programme were scouts from Europe. As a matter of fact, we now have arrangement were a minimum of six (6) foreign scouts participate in a football event on a quarterly bases.
“The first was hosted in November last year and 70 players from the number that took part in the programme were picked to explore the trade in other European countries.
“About 10 of them got lucky in the second edition. With this I believe that our investment is gradually yielding fruits. Reason for these programmes is that at some point we felt we needed to transit and making football a business, and that’s why Ilaji sports has become a strategic business unit for us. That’s why we’re doing everything possible to grow it to international status.”