36 Lion’s model had been in place for over 15 years and tended to offer better education than what its youngsters could expect to receive elsewhere.
Several Footballers have graduated from 36 Lion and have made names abroad.
Here is a look at its 5 most illustrious alumni.
- Sodiq Atanda – Hapoel Kfar Saba
Atanda entered 36 Lion when he was young, although, after graduating to the first team, he moved to FK Apolonia in January 2013.
The former Nigeria U23 international defended the colours of FK Partizani in the past. He is currently on the payroll of Hapoel Kfar Saba.
- Sadiq Popoola – Wydad Fes
A playmaker who can operate both in the centre of the park and to the left of the attack, the 26-year-old has been part of Seraing United, FC Metz and Khémisset in the past.
Popo is a masterful passer of the ball and was part of Nigeria’s team at Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
- Peter Olayinka – Slavia Praha
He’s still only 25 years old, but already Peter Olayinka has won five titles in his career.
Peter Olayinka has featured for Bylis, Yenicami SK, Skënderbeu, KAA Gent, Dukla Prague and Zulte Waregem.
The Ibadan born forward has 7 goals in all competitions so far this season.
- Imoh Ezekiel – Al Jazira
Imoh Ezekiel will go down as one of the best Lion to have played abroad.
After entering 36 Lion as a teenager, he spent some years in the club’s youth set-up before joining Standard Liege in 2012.
He received his first call-up to the Nigeria national team in February 2014. Ezekiel earned his first senior cap on 6 March, in the 0-0 draw with Mexico in a friendly match after coming on as a second-half substitute for Victor Moses.
The winger was selected by Nigeria for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Currently at Al Jazira, Imoh Ezekiel also lists All Arabi, Anderlecht, Konyaspor, Las Palmas and Kortrijk as his former clubs.
- Junior Ajayi – Al Ahly
After being moulded by 36 Lion, goal machine Junior was sent on loan to First Bank and Shooting Stars. He then earned a move to CS Sfaxien where he was prolific in front of goal.
In 2016, the then youngster moved to Al Ahly after the club offered to pay $2.5m for his services.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Ajayi was selected by Nigeria for their 18-man squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics after helping them qualifying to Rio with his decisive goals. He was bronze with the team and has been capped once by the Super Eagles.
The 24-year-old has already won four Egyptian Premier League titles, two Egyptian cups, one Egyptian Super Cup and CAF Champions League.