Another Ghanaian talent is on the move, this time it’s Ibrahim Osman (18) of FC Nordsjaelland to Premier League side Brighton, as widely reported for a fee of €19.5m. But, there is something special about this story that not many know about.
Ibrahim Osman is one of many who have stemmed from the Right to Dream Academy. Not only does this transfer ignite excitement within the community in Ghana, but also the effectiveness of Nordsjaelland’s collaboration with Right to Dream – an academy based in Ghana who have an incredible track record of producing exciting talents.
Right to Dream was established by Tom Vernon back in 1999. The British entrepreneur now finds himself as the chairman of FC Nordsjaelland following his huge success in the Ghana-based academy. He initially set this up to harness the potential of Ghana’s finest talent through football and education – 25 years on, it’s certainly paying off.
Over the years, the reputation of Right to Dream has grown more and more, with notable graduates such as Kamaldeen Sulemana, Mohammed Kudus, Ernest Nuamah, Simon Adingra and more.
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One of the striking aspects of Right to Dream’s success story is the collaboration with top-tier Danish side, FC Nordsjaelland – a club particularly known for it’s innovative player development approach.
This exclusive partnership allows selected students from Right to Dream to join the Nordsjaelland youth academy; where they receive further access to elite facilities and exposure to the world of European football. However, Right to Dream do not only provide talents to one specific club; most recently, two of their players transferred to other clubs in Europe. Amadu Hashimi transferred to Estoril, whilst Bakary Haidara made the move to Westerlo.
Tom Vernon provided some insight on his philosophy: “Every kid that is in the Right to Dream academy in Ghana and every kid at the FCN academy in Denmark is working on a give-back project appropriate to their age – there are a multitude of projects going on. One player even rebuilt the mosque in his home town.”
“We have 14-year-olds in the Danish academy, for example, who have been going to the same bus stop for the past few years and seen the same homeless guy sat there. They decided to do something about that and invest in helping him get back on his feet.”
“There is a good chance that the next Usain Bolt or Lionel Messi is in Africa and isn’t going to get the opportunities. There’s also a huge supporter base looking for those role models and wanting to get behind them… Africa’s population is increasingly massively, by 2050 there are going to be 2.2billion Africans – a billion of them will be under 25. We need to provide positive role models for the continent to follow and aspire to.”, Vernon told Sky Sports.
Back in December 2015, Right to Dream academy owner Tom Vernon officially acquired 99% of FC Nordsjaelland – making it one of the most fascinating success stories in European football in recent times.
When he took over the club, he assured he will revive Nordsjaelland’s culture of bringing through young quality players. That statement 9 years on is pretty true; the Danish club have since seen the likes of Ernest Nuamah, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Andreas Schjelderup, Damsgaard, Skov Olsen, Lobotka and others leave the club following bright performances at young ages.
According to data provided by the academy, 85% of Right to Dream graduates have secured scholarships to top universities in the United States and Europe. It’s not always about who will reach the biggest and best clubs across Europe or Africa, but also the fact the academy has great emphasis on education and becoming a pivotal role in shaping the future of the next generation in Ghana.
FC Nordsjaelland’s stadium is called the Right to Dream park – a place that will shape the future of football for generations to come. An incredible story that is not slowing down anytime soon – Tom Vernon and those surrounding this project deserve huge credit.