Danish Club Midtylland invests millions in Ebedei to develop Nigerian youngsters

By Innocent Benjamin

Danish football powerhouse, FC Midtjylland, have pumped in a significant amount of money into Nigerian academy, FC Ebedei, to develop young Nigerian talents.

The club announced the development through the press release below.

First it was Paul Onuachu, and this summer, Frank Onyeka followed suit. Both players came to FC Midtjylland from the cooperation club FC Ebedei as 18-year-olds. They then established their names in Danish football and joined the Nigerian A national team before being sold to major European addresses.

FC Midtjylland would like to create more of these stories in the future. Therefore, the club is investing further in the collaboration with FC Ebedei, from which Onuachu, Onyeka and Onyedika, among others, come.

"The sporting level has increased significantly in FC Midtjylland over the past handful of years, so therefore it is natural that we must upgrade our presence in Nigeria to continue to develop players who can join our team," explains sports manager, Svend Graversen.

A holistic effort

The investment is based on an upgrade of the physical facilities in Ebedei based in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, and entails the recruitment of more coaches, so as to facilitate increased scouting in Nigeria.

"Specifically, we are improving the facilities of FC Ebedei by establishing an artificial turf pitch, which is of the highest quality in Nigeria, a new strength room and a restaurant

"In addition, we are intensifying the presence with more Danish coaches who are associated with the club, and they must add know-how and help increase the interaction between Central Jutland and Ebedei," continues Svend Graversen.

The most recent Nigerian who has marked himself with a high level at MCH Arena is Raphael Onyedika, who was recently named Young Player of the Month in the 3F Superliga and has even extended his contract with FC Midtjylland.

Raphael Onyedika extends with FCM

The move comes days after Onyedika was rewarded with a longer contract following a fine form since graduating into the first team this season.

"We want to make it more attractive for young Nigerian players to come to Ebedei, and at the same time we are increasing scouting in Nigeria so that we can hopefully find even better players in the country. There is no doubt that we would like to repeat the success stories with Paul, Frank and Rapha," says Svend Graversen.

The best facilities

WATCH THE NEW FACILITIES HEREWATCH THE NEW FACILITIES HERE

Since 2003, FC Midtjylland has worked closely with the club and academy FC Ebedei, located in southern Nigeria. The academy is owned and operated by Churchill Oliseh.

"It is crucial for us to have the best facilities. The new course ensures us the highest possible level, but also motivation among our players and an increased attractiveness," says Churchill Oliseh.

"We can promote the individual and collective development on the new surface and it is a big step for us in the efforts to raise the bar." 

FCM has annually recruited players for the academy in Ikast, and many of them have later been successful at senior level. 

Names like Oluwafemi Ajilore, Sylvester Igboun, Rilwan Hassan, Izunna Uzochukwu, Paul Onuachu and Frank Onyeka evoke fond memories for FCM fans, and currently it is Raphael Onyedika who has most recently made his mark on the first team.

Making a difference

The head of the academy in Nigeria is proud of the new pitch and highlights the collaboration with FC Midtjylland, which not only

develops football players, but also people and the area.

"The players from our academy make a difference in the environment and contribute to a better future in Nigeria. Paul installed electricity for an entire city, Frank has built houses and Rilwan shares clothes and boots. They are all role models and help the people here, which is praiseworthy."

In connection with the establishment of the new artificial turf pitch in FC Ebedei, the water supply in the area has also been expanded. This means that the residents who do not have clean drinking water in the community will in future be able to pick up free water from the training facility.