Serie A outfit AS Roma has unveiled the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as its first African partner.
Under the initial deal, which is set to run three years, both Roma and the NFF will share football, business and media expertise. Moreover, Roma will offer the NFF technical and operational support advice across youth coaching, player development, football administration and digital media practices.
Manolo Zubiria, chief global sporting officer at AS Roma, commented: “Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigeria Football Federation.”
Roma has already endeared themselves to Nigerian fans after backing the African nation at the 2018 Fifa World Cup following Italy’s failure to qualify for the tournament in Russia.
Moreover, the Italian club also launched a Twitter account in the Pidgin language which currently has over 18,000 followers. Pidgin is spoken by an estimated 75 million people in Nigeria, with additional speakers across west and central Africa.
Amaju Pinnick, NFF president, added: “We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole. Roma have shown an incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans, even launching a Pidgin Twitter account, and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”
As part of the deal both parties are also exploring the possibility of Roma playing a friendly match in Nigeria, an idea which Roma club president Jim Pallotta has championed.
Regarding the ways in which Roma will benefit from the partnership, the national soccer body will work with the club’s development initiatives in Nigeria as the Serie A outfit is in the process of assessing opening an academy within the country.
Roma currently sit fourth in Serie A having recorded two wins and two draws so far this season. They are next in action on Wednesday night when they host Atalanta at the Stadio Olimipico.