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Ethiopian club Saint George and Madrid based football management firm SOXNA Football Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the operation of the newly built Yidnekachew Tessema Football Academy in Bishoftu, 42 KMs east of the capital Addis Ababa, at an event organized at Sheraton Addis, Thursday September 21.
Saint George, SOXNA and a Spanish investment consultancy company named E for E signed the deal to handle the Academy for the next five years. The Sport Association have been in a quest to find a European partner to guide their new Academy. At the signing ceremony, Saint George’s board president Abenet GebreMeskel stated it had been the club’s vision to own a youth academy. “It has always been our dream to establish a youth academy to the oldest club in Ethiopia and we celebrated our 80th anniversary just last year. Tonight is a very historical evening for Saint George to sign this agreement with SOXNA to manage our facility which is an important investment for the future of Ethiopian youth. This is also an extension of our strong relationship between Spain and Ethiopia.”
SOXNA executive vice president David A. Lopez at his keynote address told the gathering there is a pool of talent in Ethiopia waiting to be found. “First of all I am extremely happy to be here sharing with this important project for the youth training academy of Saint George. SOXNA has offices in Spain, China and Hong Kong, very soon here in Ethiopia as well. We specialize in developing youth training programs. For us it is an honor to be chosen by the best Ethiopian club and one of the best clubs in whole Africa. Talent is everywhere and we are very sure there is a lot of talent in Ethiopia waiting to be found. For this reason, the first thing we are going to do once we started this cooperation is a series of activities to identify talent in all areas of the country. Together with local coaches from Saint George, our team will develop and design a strategy for the youth development for the next five years.”
The project is expected to cost €360,000 in its initial year as the cost will jump to €680,000 in the second year. Abenet addressed the local media later on as he noted after the completion of the five years he expects Ethiopians to fully operate the academy. Further negotiations between Saint George and SOXNA are expected to be held in the coming weeks on how the senior Saint George side would have linkage with the Academy.