By Codratus Godson
The much-talked about Real Madrid Football Academy expected to drill talented youths of Rivers State into future super stars in football would begin academic activities in September, 2020.
The previous deadline was affected by the sweeping coronavirus pandemic. The contractors claimed to have lost 28 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of the contracting firm, Julien Kan, Project Manager SPG Construction Nig Ltd, assured the governor that the project would be delivered on new schedule.
Gov Wike extended the completion date when he visited the project site of the Academy at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Elekahia, Port Harcourt, to inspect the extent of work done.
Speaking to journalists, Gov Wike said the academy would become operational in September when the new academic session begins. He emphasised that the contractors would have no reason to delay completion of the project beyond August 2020 because the State Government would fulfill her financial obligation.
The governor noted that the pitches and the administrative offices are ready but the academy cannot commence activities without the completion of the hostels and the classrooms that would be used by the students.
According to him, the aspect of academic activities is as important as the football training in order to give Rivers youths admitted into the institution a holistic career path.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality of work by the contractor and urged him to redouble his effort to meet the deadline. The academy was copied from Spain when the governor visited and discussed with them. The Nigerian version is expected to run alongside the blueprint from Spain, though Nigerian factor may not be ruled out.