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Nigeria, Onyekuru should be grateful to Aspire Academy, says Ivan Bravo

Arsenal club has emerged as the frontrunner to sign Eupen forward

  • 8 June 2017
  • Author: QT2
  • Number of views: 950
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Nigeria, Onyekuru should be grateful to Aspire Academy, says Ivan Bravo

IKOLI VICTOR

DOHA

Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy says he hopes Arsenal linked Henry Onyekuru and Nigeria will be grateful for developing the player to who he is today. 
   The 19-year old was an Aspire Academy graduate that moved to the academy’s training ground in Senegal in 2011 and was among the lucky few selected from the “Aspire Football Dreams” (AFD). 
   “We are so proud that he trained under Aspire and developed under Aspire and has reached the national team of Nigeria,” Bravo said in Doha on Wednesday. 
   “What I would hope is both the player and Nigerian people will be very happy and thankful to Aspire for developing him to come of age,” Bravo added. 
   The Aspire programme (AFD) is a fascinating and unique humanitarian project aimed at empowering the youth of the world by identifying football talents. It is a chance for thousands of 13-year-old boys in developing countries to demonstrate their skills in order to receive an educational scholarship together with a chance to fulfill their dream of reaching the heights of international football. 
   For the selected few like Onyekuru, AFD provided a holistic development including e.g. private school education, coaching, international friendly games, social, medical and sport scientific support, accommodation and food. 
   Furthermore, it provided an opportunity to pursue an international career in football. 
   In June 2015 he moved to KAS Eupen owned by Aspire Zone Foundation, where he was offered a professional contract. The Nigerian has progressed since then and was the second top scorer in the Belgian league with 22 goals last season. 
   Belgium’s top two clubs Anderlecht and Club Brugge, both wanted to sign the 19-year-old, but the striker have his mind set on moving to England. 
   Arsenal has emerged as the frontrunner to land the signature of the Aspire graduate. 
   If the move goes through, Onyekuru will be the second player to progress from the Aspire Academy to a top European club, following defender Diawandou Diagne who joined Barcelona B from Eupen in 2014. 
   To reward his outstanding performance this season, Nigeria German coach Gerard Rorh gave him a debut game for the Super Eagles against Togo in a friendly they won 3-0. 
   He is expected to be in the team when Nigeria face South Africa in an African Cup of Nations 2019 qualifier match on Saturday.

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