Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s close-season transfer to AS Roma has made a lasting impact off the pitch, helping a missing Kenyan boy reunite with his family thanks to the Italian club’s social media campaign.

The Nigeria Football Federation on Friday announced that it had signed a multi-year partnership with Italian football club, AS Roma, to boost the development of football in Nigeria.

The partnership, which was unveiled in Abuja, will see the NFF and Roma collaborate together on and off the pitch, says the statement released by NFF via its Twitter handle.

According to the statement, the two parties will share football, business and media expertise, with Roma offering the NFF technical and operational support and advice in the areas of youth coaching, player development, football administration and digital media best practices.

In return, the NFF will also collaborate with the AS Roma in their projects and development Initiatives in Nigeria.

Speaking on the partnership, NFF President Amaju Pinnick said, “We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma. We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally-recognized space in spite of the avoidable distractions.

“The fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football.

“Roma is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, with a very good reputation for consistently developing talented young players. We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole. Roma have shown incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”

Manolo Zubiria, Chief Global Sport Officer at AS Roma added, “This promises to be an exciting and ground-breaking partnership for both parties. This club is known throughout football for having one of the most accomplished youth development programmes in the world and in recent years, Roma has developed more players who’ve gone on to play professionally than any other club in Italy.

“Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigerian Football Federation. We’re also open to working with the NFF and their partners to assess the feasibility of one day opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria.”

Present at the unveiling ceremony were Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr. O Olusade, NFF Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, NFF Board members of the NFF, AS Roma’s Head of Academy, Massimo Tarantino and Head of Strategy at Roma, Paul Rogers.

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