Major League Soccer Club, Houston Dynamo in collaboration with a non-profit organization, African Football Development Initiative (AFDI) Global has trained young footballers and coaches of two football academies in Accra.
This is the second capacity-building and donation exercise to be carried out by AFDI with a major collaboration this year.
Beneficiaries of the outreach program were Light Academy and Fortune Academy.
Speaking after the event, the co-founder of the African Football Development Initiative and a sports management consultant, Alidu Salifu, explained the purpose of such initiatives are for the less privileged yet aspiring and talented young footballers.
“I am pleased to be part of this initiative that offers skill and knowledge impartation in the area of football development.
We all realized that football development requires a lot of funding, so we are looking to collaborate with any organization in Ghana to make a difference in the career development of aspiring young footballers.
We hope for more collaborations like this which will impact the lives of the youth and by extension, their families,” Mr. Salifu said.
Representing the MLS club was Houston Dynamo academy scout and coach, and head coach of the University of Houston Downtown Club Soccer, Thompson Antwi, who believes that the talent in Ghana is massive, and it is at a point where the young talents need better nutrition and growth for the game.
“The goal for us is to get them as young as possible to be able to refine and prepare them for their future professional football careers.
We want to be able to get them as young as 8, 9, 10, 11 years to enhance their game not just from a physical standpoint, but also, intellectually; how they need to approach the game, what they need to do to be successful and truly achieve their full potential because there is a lot of it here.
For the older talents like the 17, 18-year-olds, you can tell that their potential has not been properly nurtured.
So, our ultimate goal is to ensure that their potential is properly nurtured at a very early age to reach their full potential”, Mr. Antwi intimated.
According to the Houston Dynamo academy scout and coach, Mr Antwi:
“the more feedback I get to my people at Houston, you never know where this can go”.
So that is my main agenda when it comes to the Houston Dynamo in collaboration with any team here in Ghana.
I am trying to be that bridge between the Dynamos and Ghana.
My job is to come out here and expose Ghana to Houston Dynamo and vice versa, then we hope the best will come out soon.”
There is confidence from the two institutions regarding football development for the young talents as Houston Dynamo FC’s Head, Academy Scout and Pre-Professional Phase coach, Pablo Reyes, virtually joined the capacity building session and alluded that:
“this is just the beginning and if things work out according to plan, I will visit the country to see the talent we have, to be able to provide support to build a solid foundation for the aspiring professional footballers”.
This is definitely a great way to deepen the collaboration between Houston Dynamo and the teams in Ghana. Some of the donated sports items to the academies included bibs, footballs, training cones, whistles, and many others.