The 2009 edition of Ghana’s first football reality show, the MTN Soccer Academy, will be launched in Accra this Friday August 31. This year’s event is unique as for the first time it expands to include housemates from West African neighbours Nigeria.
According to Mr. Roy Aouad, Senior Management member of Optimum Media Prime (OMP), organisers of the MTN Soccer Academy, they have reached an agreement with a television station in Nigeria, AIT TV, to also screen the matches live in that country.
“It is to broaden the show, the dimension and excitement. It has been a good show and since Nigeria also has many football talents like Ghana, we believe this will make it more interesting and increase the competition,” Mr. Aouad has disclosed. The Soccer Academy show was started two years ago by OMP with the aim to expose the capabilities of young footballers in Ghana. Gideon Baah won the maiden edition and has played two seasons in the Ghana Premier League even captaining Sporting Mirren for a number of matches in the just ended 2008/09 season.
He has since been invited into the Black Satellites to fight for a place in the national U-20 soccer team preparing for their World Cup in Egypt in September. Baah also spent some two weeks in 2007 with English Premiership side Chelsea as part of his winning prize. Last year’s winner Sowu is set to make his journey to Europe for his package whilst his runner-up Michael Gator also played for Kpando Heart of Lions in the league. Bismark Frimpong who played for newly crowned champions Hearts of Oak is yet another product of the MTN Soccer Academy.
The successes have been so enormous that OMP with the able and loyal sponsorship of MTN have taken the challenge to extend it to Nigeria. Mr. Aouad says it is a test to see if the event can be expanded to include more countries. “We have to improve everything and it is always very expensive but God been so good we’ve enjoyed the support of MTN not forgetting many other sponsors and donors. We want to see how this goes then we can see if it can be four or six countries next time. It is a very good model for even FIFA to consider in unearthing players,” Roy Aouad explained.
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