Kidus Giorgis sports Association have officially inaugurated a new youth academy, the first of its kind in Ethiopia to be privately owned, in a colorful ceremony held at the facility Today. The ceremony was attended by high level CAF and government officials; including CAF president Mr. Issa Hayatou, Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Mr. Demeke Mekonen, Mr. Juneydi Basha President of the Ethiopian football federation, and other distinguished guests.
The youth academy located in the tourist town of Bishoftu some 40 kms away from the capital Addis Ababa is named after the late Yidnekachew Tessema; former CAF president and FIFA executive comittee member, and a man widely regarded as the father of Ethiopian football.
The state of the art facility built at a cost of 70 million ETB ($3 million) meets CAF and FIFA standards, parading two international standard pitches, a modern gymnasium, medical center, dormitories capable of hosting up to 120 people, a recreational center and other facilities.
Mr. Abnet Gebremeskel, President of Kidus Giorgis Sport Association, expressed his joy at the official opening of the academy, and described nurturing the next generation of Ethiopian footballers as the main mission the academy is built to achieve.
During his keynote speech, Mr. Abnet also expressed his delight at the club’s decision to name the academy after the late great Yidnekachew Tessema.
“The board is extremely proud to announce that the new academy will be named in honor of Yidnekachew Tessema, father of Ethiopian football, a man who has served as a player, coach and also in the management of our club, president of CAF for 16 years, member of the FIFA Executive committee, member of the International Olympic committee, and at various other capacities, contributing immensely to the growth of sport in our country.”
Mr. Abnet also gave praise and recognition to Saudi-Ethiopian tycoon Sheikh Mohammed Hussien Al Amoudi, patron of Kidus Giorgis football club, for his contribution in the realization of the club’s dream of having an ultra-modern academy – helping out not only financially, but also by having his companies take part in the construction.
Mr. Issa Hayatou, President of the Confederation of African Football, conveyed his happiness in being in Ethiopia and the welcome he received, and reiterated his faith that the new facility will help in the promotion of the game in the country.
” I believe the new academy is the first step in promoting world class football in Ethiopia. And as such Mr. Abnet and all those involved in the project should be thanked,” Hayatou said.
Mr. Juneydi Basha, President of the EFF, on his part congratulated the management of the club for this meaningful accomplishment. Mr. Juneydi described Kidus Giorgis as ‘a source of pride’, and ‘an ambassador of the country on the football field’ and stated his hope that this achievement will be emulated by other clubs in Ethiopia.
General Secretary of Kidus Giorgis Sport Association, Mr. Neway Beyene, revealed to the congregation that the running cost of the academy, estimated around $500,000 /year, will be provided by sponsors until comes a time the academy becomes financially independent. Half of the running cost will be covered by BGI Ethiopia with Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi covering the balance through a sponsorship deal with three of his companies: Moha Soft Drinks, Derba Cement, and Horizon Plantations.
The academy is expected to become fully operational this year, with recruitments of around a 100 young talents aged 12 to 15 to commence soon.