By Sports Reporter/Vina Del Mar, Chile
Nigerian international and ‘Aspire Football Dreams’ player, Funsho Ibrahim Bamgboye celebrated netting the winner in his side’s victory in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup final against Chile, played in Mali on November 8.
The left winger had an excellent tournament overall, playing five games and assisting in three of his team’s goals.
Born in 1999 and originally from Lagos, Bamgboye was selected for the “Aspire Football Dreams” programme in 2012 as one of the three best players in his age group amongst those selected from Nigeria.
In 2014 he was a key member of the “Aspire International” team that triumphed at the “Al Kass International Cup” and was considered to be one of the best performers during the tournament.
“Aspire Football Dreams” (AFD) is a unique humanitarian project designed to identify and nurture young footballing talent from around the world. It provides a unique opportunity for thousands of 13-year-old boys in developing countries to receive an educational scholarship and the chance to develop their footballing potential. For some, it means the opportunity to play at an international level. For those fortunate enough to be selected onto the scheme, AFD provides an holistic development programme that includes private school education, coaching, the chance to play in international friendlies, medical and pastoral support, accommodation and board.
It ultimately provides a unique opportunity that would not otherwise be available for talented young footballers to pursue an international career in football.
The programme began in 2007 and initially involved seven countries in Africa as well as the participation of 430,000 young players who were screened for footballing talent. It has grown ever since.
In 2008, it expanded to Asia and Latin America in a bid to bring the programme to greater numbers of countries and a satellite branch of Aspire Academy was opened in Senegal at the same time. From 2007 until 2014, more than four million youngsters have been screened for the programme in 17 countries with between 18 and 20 scholarships awarded each year.
Incredibly more than 6,000 volunteers have been involved in the programme, and more than 150,000 11-a-side games have been played on more than 800 football grounds.
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