A delegation of senior officials of the Portuguese Club, BENFICA Lisbon, led by Mr. Bernado Faria de Carvalho, Director of Lisbon Benfica International made a working visit to Abidjan from 5 to 8 July 2022.

The objective of this mission was to finalise discussions between the Benfica Lisbon and the National Institute of Youth and Sports (INJS) for the effective implementation of the 𝑨𝒄𝒂𝒅é𝒎𝒊𝒆 𝑵𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒆 𝒅𝒆 𝑭𝒐𝒐𝒕𝒃𝒂𝒍𝒍 at 𝑨𝒃𝒊𝒅𝒋𝒂𝒏- 𝑰𝑵𝑱𝑺 by the end of 2022.

As a reminder, the excellence of the ties of friendship and cooperation between Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire led to the signing of an agreement for the opening of a Football Academy in Abidjan by the two presidents, during the visit to Côte d’Ivoire in June 2019 of H.E. Mr. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. A first in a non-Lusophone country.

Benfica Lisbon is internationally renowned for having trained talented players, such as the Brazilian David Luiz and the Argentine Angel Di Maria. By signing an agreement with Benfica Lisbon, Côte d’Ivoire will offer its youth a training centre of excellence with the ambition of seeing the emergence of real talents capable of re-energising the Ivorian national team and/or joining local and international clubs.

The beneficiaries of the project will be children aged between 12 and 18, registered in formal or informal football clubs of neighbourhoods, communes, departments, regions or at the national level. The Academy will also train football referees to ensure a better quality of future competitions.

The National Football Academy at the INJS will benefit from the expertise and the long and rich experience of Benfica Lisbon in football.

This project will significantly contribute to the professional insertion of the football talented Ivorian youth. The National Football Academy will be a nest for the development and retraining of children and youth” commented the Minister of Sports, Paulin Claude DANHO.

In the perspective of opening the Academy as soon as the next school year starts, the Portuguese delegation, guided by Managing Director of the INJS, Mr. Habib SANOGO, went to the INJS to note the effectiveness of the availability of the infrastructure put at the disposal by the Ivorian party for the Academy project. This includes a residence for the coaches of Benfica Lisbon, buildings to house the footballers, the canteen, the sports medicine room, health equipment and the training grounds. “We are satisfied with the project’s progress to date and will be going back to report this to our agent, in order to get the Academiy started…” said the head of the Portuguese delegation, Mr Bernado Faria de Carvalho.

The National Football Academy at the INJS is a project designed according to a public-private partnership model implemented by the National Steering Committee for Public-Private Partnerships (CNP-PPP).

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