Football is one of the most loved games played in the world and Nigeria in particular. This is no surprise as it is evident in the football stars the country has always produced. As a Nigerian footballer, you are not limited to local football but can play even on a global level. The football industry in Nigeria has witnessed tremendous improvement in past years, there are now many international football academies present in Nigeria. Before now, any aspiring footballer used to be lost on how to go about putting their talents and skills to use but it is no longer so, you can now have proper guidance on how to go about your profession as a footballer. This article provides a detailed guide on how to become a footballer in Nigeria.
Do the homework
Before getting into the spotlight as a footballer, there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. Football is a profession that requires your mind as well as your body. Think about all you need to let go of or focus on to advance in your profession as a footballer. You must ask yourself if football is your best option and if you are willing to let go of your current trade or profession for it. You must also rate yourself to know what your strengths are in football. You must ask yourself questions like, “Do I possess such outstanding football talent and skills that will enable me to succeed at the highest level in the football profession” Answering these questions will help you in making decisions as you go on in the profession.
Make a plan
Just like every business, you must always have a plan. A career plan will keep you grounded and help you not to get distracted when you get into the thick of your career. In your plan, you must make decisions on the following issues:
Location: Do you want to start off your football career in Nigeria or Abroad.
Capital: Where do you intend sourcing for funds? This is because pursuing your football career will take time and money for things such as training sessions.
Training: You must decide on where to receive your football training sessions.
Network: The soul of your football career is to network with the right people who will introduce you to a club. You can get introduced to a club through a player’s agent. You can also go for a club’s recruitment screening by yourself.
Attend a Football Training Academy
While it is extremely important that you have the basic skills and talents to get yourself on the football field, it is also highly recommended that you attend a football academy where your skills will be polished and put to good use. Not only that, a football training academy is a platform that exposes you to the right audience. In the football profession, a huge part of your success depends on being exposed to the right audience. There are many football academies in Nigeria, some are established by international organizations. Football academies in Nigeria include Midas Football Academy, Pepsi Football Academy, Barcelona Football academy. With good training and being exposed to the right audience, your dream of becoming a professional football player will be set in motion.
As an aspiring professional footballer, you need to develop your marketing strategies so as to put yourself out there on the market. The goal of your marketing strategy is to ensure you get the attention and interest of agents, scouts, or clubs’ management. If you play very well on a Nigerian club, you can get noticed and called up to the national team. Remember that in the football profession, your talent value scales higher, the more opportunities you avail of yourself. For example, if you get on the national team, you can then get the attention of agents and other international clubs. Here are tips on how to promote yourself:
Registering and attending a scouting tournament or program where get plays in front of Agents and Scouts.
Video clips: You can record and produce video clips of your matches, even local ones so you can send them to agents. It is only when agents get to see your talents first hand they can be interested in introducing you to a club. Club management will also want to see your video clips before inviting you for trials.
Make use of the internet: Just like every other profession, you can upload your profile (CV) n job applications such as LinkedIn, where you can get to tag both Nigerian agents and footballers as well as foreign ones. You can also upload your promo-video clips on Youtube, or Linkedin and send this as your portfolio to agents and scouts you can contact.
Word of mouth promotion
You can reach out to professional footballers and ask them to introduce you to their own agents or club scout. Your marketing as an aspiring footballer will entail lots of research as you check online for contacts of Nigerian licensed Agents and scouts so you can reach them one-on-one. You can also check for foreign agents and scouts online and reach out to them.
Land a Contract
The dream of every aspiring footballer is to land a contract with a football club, this is a big break yet you must proceed with caution. Do not sign a contract without the presence of a lawyer. Many Nigerian footballers who did the right thing trying to get to the top have signed away their career simply because they did not go into it while hiring the services of a lawyer. It is recommended that before committing to a contract with any club, whether international or local, you should hire the services of a lawyer. The contract document must be read by both the footballer and the lawyer, while the lawyer interprets any legal term and its implications to the footballer. When building your portfolio, be sure to have your International passport, and other travel documents ready, in case any opportunity suddenly shows up.
If you have what it takes as regards talents and skills and you follow the steps mentioned above, you are on your way to becoming a professional footballer.