How to Join Papilo Football Academy

It’s really time to take the step if you want to begin your football journey in Nigeria. Nigeria is generally a good football nation, with many football academies. One such is Papilo Football Academy. In this guide, I will walk you through the steps and how to join Papilo Football Academy.

The Papilo Football Academy was established in 2000 and is run by the iconic Nigerian footballer Nwankwo Kanu. Kanu is known for his remarkable career at clubs like Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal, and Portsmouth. He earned many medals and awards. So, with Papilo Football Academy, you will be following in the footsteps of a legendary footballer.

Who is Kanu Nwankwo?

Nwankwo Kanu, now a UNICEF ambassador and the founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation, was a celebrated striker. His accolades include a UEFA Champions League medal, a UEFA Cup medal, three FA Cup Winners Medals, and two African Player of the Year awards.

Kanu’s exceptional talent is evident in his achievements: a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a Champions League, a UEFA Cup, and an Olympic Gold Medal. His career took off in Nigeria, and he soon made an impact at AFC Ajax, scoring 25 goals in 54 appearances in 1993.

He played for several international teams, including Ajax from 1993 to 1996, Inter Milan between 1996 and 1999, Arsenal from 1999 to 2004, West Bromwich Albion between 2004 and 2006, and finally Portsmouth from 2006 to 2012. In terms of national teams, he represented Nigeria U17 in 1993, Nigeria U23 in 1996, and was part of the Super Eagles of Nigeria from 1994 to 2011. Now, let’s return to our main topic.

The Papilo Football Academy in Nigeria was founded by Nwankwo Kanu. The goal of this academy is to train young players to become professional footballers, similar to Kanu who also came from a football academy. He established this academy to help uncover and develop raw football talents from various parts of Nigeria.

The Papilo FC Academy has been successful in producing numerous players who have represented the national team. Over time, it has managed to transfer more than 10 players to international clubs. Some of its notable alumni include Joel Obi, who went on to play for Inter Milan, and Stanley Okoro of Battista, often referred to as “Little Messi.”

Moreover, the academy forms the backbone of the Papilo Football Club team. This team was promoted to the Nigeria National League (NNL) division in just three years. The club has also formed a partnership with Leeds United Football Club in the UK. To further aid the development of its players, Kanu has used his connections to bring top international coaches like Bryan Robson and Gary Smith for short courses and training at the academy.

In 2018, several players from the Papilo Football Academy had the opportunity to train at Leeds United Football Club. This collaboration is expected to continue in 2019.

The team is currently competing in the Nationwide League One and has formed a partnership with Vandrezzer Oil Services. The team has been performing well, and there are plans to further develop it to reach the Premier League soon.

Nwankwo Kanu has put more than 100 million Naira into the club since it started. The team is working hard to achieve his vision for both the academy and the football club. The academy, which is at Nwankwo Kanu’s private estate on Egbu Owerri Road, now has over 200 players. Today, it’s one of the most popular football academies in Nigeria.

How to Join Papilo Football Academy

Here are the steps to join Papilo Football Academy known as Papilo FC Academy:

1. Visit the Papilo Training Centre

Currently, Papilo Football Academy does not have a website. I have tried finding one that they maintain but can’t find any. However, they do have a Facebook page but it’s no longer active, like since 2022. The Academy is located in Owerri, Nigeria, where they also have a training center.

2. Get the Registration Form

The admission form for Papilo Football Academy is currently available at the various training centers in Owerri. For purchasing the form or admission assistance, you have to reach out to the school administrator at the training center. The form costs about ₦15,500.

3. Begin Your Journey

If you have the talent, Papilo FC Academy will only be your starting point. Just prove that you are football and football is you, and then you’ll find yourself in bigger places, just like the founder of the academy.

Major Successes of Papilo FC Academy

  1. They won the State FA Cup in 2016.
  2. They moved up to the National League from Nationwide One in the same year, 2016.
  3. They were finalists in the State FA Cup twice.

Papilo Football Club, created by Nwankwo Kanu, is a place where young players can grow their football skills and talents. Kanu mentioned in an interview with Kanu Sports TV, “We have a football academy and a club all in one, and our aim is to provide a place for young players to improve their skills and build their careers.”

To better support the players, Kanu started a N50 million fund for Papilo FC. But, it was later reported that Kanu sold the club because he was unhappy with how teams were not winning based on how they played.

Kanu then focused on his Kanu Soccer Academy. This academy offers professional football training for boys and girls aged 6 to 17, including both outfield players and goalkeepers. The team is led by Nwankwo Kanu himself as the Player Development Director, and it has coaches who are experienced and qualified by the FA and UEFA, and who have passed criminal record checks. The Kanu Soccer Academy emphasizes improving each player’s skills and techniques. With Kanu’s wide experience and connections in football, players of all ages and levels will have chances to play and grow.

There has been some confusion about whether Kelechi Iheanacho was part of Papilo Academy before he joined Manchester City. When asked, Kanu’s elder brother, who lives in Owerri, did not comment on these reports.

What is the Registration Fee for Papilo Football Academy?

To join the Papilo Football Academy, you need to pay a registration fee of ₦15,500. For information on how to register, you can call the phone number provided earlier.

Do players at the academy get paid?

Players as young as 7 can join the academy, but they won’t get paid until they sign a scholarship agreement with the club. This agreement can be offered when an academy player turns 15 years old.


So, with this guide, you have seen the three-step method to join Papilo Football Academy. It’s not really hard, especially if you reside in Owerri. At Papilo Football Academy, training happens at their own facility. Usually, the academy conducts training 2 to 3 times a week. There’s a game on the weekend against another academy team or a local team. So, prepare your mind fully for this chapter.

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