The general overseer of a faith-based outfit, Omega Power Ministry, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere has described football as a veritable means of overcoming poverty especially among the Nigerian youths that are well blessed with soccer talents but lack financial backing that can aid their dreams.
The man of God who is bankrolling trial expenses of 31 Nigerian players that will be traveling to three foreign countries on trial with international football clubs after a recently held talent hunt program organized by OPM in Rivers State said the boys will later boost our national teams and make Nigeria proud.
His words: “Each time I am watching street football, I notice there are lots of stars that are wasting away due to lack of financial help to aid their aspirations of making ends meet through football. When you’ve helped, you move faster, because there is a difference between the person that is running and the person that is driving, the person driving will arrive at his destination faster than the one running”.
“That is why we decided to help the youths because an Idle mind is a devil’s workshop and that was why I spoke to some coaches I know who are of international repute to come down here to help scout for good players among these kids, so OPM can finance their expenses to secure clubs abroad”.
The clergy also added that “this year alone OPM has sent more than 100 people to go and work abroad while almost 100 have also been sponsored abroad for schooling. We have touched as many lives as possible”.
“We decided to go into this sponsorship to help those talented players that have nobody to sponsor them. It is part of the ministry’s humanitarian engagements to better the lives of the less privileged. It is the fund generated from offerings and payment of tithes from the congregation.
Coach John Obuh, former National Under-17 and Under-20 coach who supervised the scouting program, while reacting thanked the man of God for what he has done, saying this is the first time he will be witnessing such a huge benevolence gesture from a clergy towards the development of Nigerian football.
“The ministry, OPM, is taking care of the bill of any players picked right from his traveling passport, visa, air-ticket, feeding and accommodation, all coming free, I think is something we have to appreciate”.
“If we also come here to do this for free, it worth it, considering the good gesture of Apostle Chinyere, but all these children needed to be given an opportunity and that was why I have to leave my comfort zone to come and help by selecting most talented footballers among them”, said Coach Obuh.
A football agent and technical director of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) based football club, Muhammed Mustapha, who is in charge of the program also explained that the international trials which will take place in batches will start with the movement of eight players in the middle of September.
“We are looking at taking them to three countries for trial. The first seven or eight will travel to the UAE, where I am a technical director and shareholders of the football club, LIWA Sports Football Club, a professional Arab club located in the United Arab Emirates.
The first batch will travel in the second week of September while the second batch will be traveling in the same September to Ukraine and the remaining players will be taken to Greece precisely by October 10 this year,” he revealed.
He added that “I used to tell people that we have lots of Neymar and Messi everywhere in Africa but what they needed is an opportunity like this to showcase their talent and get necessary exposures, but why those Messi and Neymar excel quickly was that they get early opportunities of development and right connection”.