When the curtains for the Kick To Glory Talent Hunt fell, some of the agents that flew all the way from Europe to Nigeria to be part of the event bared their minds.
One of them, Raffaele Martina, from Barcelona, Spain, was pleased with what he termed “Festival of talents in Nigeria football’’. He spoke to Obiako Chris Okechukwu.
Sir, can you introduce yourself? My name is Raffaele Martina. I’m a football agent from Barcelona, Spain.
What brought you to Nigeria, Mr. Raffaele? Of course, I came for the Kick To Glory Talent Hunt which was put together by my friend and partner, Friday Nwankwo Kujah. In this part of the globe, he’s known as the Soccer Ambassador.
What is this talent hunt all about? This is what I will call a Festival of talents in Nigeria football. This is a platform to discover thousands of talents that are wasting away in the suburbs of Nigeria. It is an avenue to discover these talented players and give them the necessary exposure internationally. The clubs’ part is to present a very good team. The players’ responsibility is to showcase their talent for us to see. Then, our own responsibility is to pick the best among these players, market them to foreign clubs, and see how everything goes. I’ve been in similar events in the past, and must tell you boldly that this particular talent hunt surpassed any other one I’ve been part of in the past.
Is this your first time of coming to Nigeria? No! I’ve been to Nigeria so many times that I can’t count or remember any more. Nigeria is my second home, a place I’ve come to love and cherish. Of all the countries I’ve visited for scouting of players, Nigeria remains number one in the abundance of talented and skilful players.
How long have you worked with Friday Kujah?
Friday has been my friend for so many years. We have a wonderful working partnership has endured the test of time. We have done so many good businesses in the past. Together we’ve discovered and exposed so many talented Nigerian and African players to so many clubs in Europe and the rest of the world. We’ve worked with Jay Jay Okocha and his family in the past too. Can you mention some of the Nigerian players you’ve successfully brokered their deals in Europe?
I can’t remember all of them now, but I can count the most prominent ones who have played for the senior national team of Nigeria, Super Eagles, like Elderson Echiejile. Onyekachi Apam, Ambrose Efe, who all came through our ranks.
What calibers of players are you interested in picking from this event? Young, vibrant, talented, skilful and aggressive players are the ones we’re looking out for. So far, we have selected a good number of them. Presently, they need some polishing. They also need a little bit of technical input. They need to be trained to get to the desired height tactically. The positive thing about them is that they’re incredibly young, teachable and industrious. We’re looking at taking them to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, England etc., where they’ll get all the opportunities to show the stuff they’re made of. How soon are you coming back to Nigeria for another talent hunt?
This is a very good venture, and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen here. I promise to be back in the next few weeks, my friend. I can’t wait to come back.