Six Nigerians shortlisted as “Future Stars” in pioneering new coaching programme from Arsenal and WorldRemit

Leading digital money transfer service WorldRemit has released the names of 25 shortlisted applicants for the WorldRemit Future Stars football coaching programme. Six of the shortlisted coaches are Nigerians and they are: Adegun Shola John, Ezindu Okay-Lawrence, Felix Ifeanyi Nwosu, Henry Uche Iwuanyanwu, Ogunmefun Jerry Olaide, Oluwasegun Adeniyi.

The Future Stars programme is a new initiative set up by WorldRemit, the official online money transfer partner of Arsenal Football Club, to recognise and reward the valuable contribution that youth coaches make to the communities they serve. Future Stars offers local coaches from across Africa the chance to attend an exclusive new training camp with Arsenal’s top Soccer Schools coaches in London.

The programme received over 700 applications in one week from across Africa. A shortlist of 25 coaches has been selected by a judging panel of representatives from Arsenal and WorldRemit. In recognition of their hard work, the 25 shortlisted coaches will receive official Arsenal shirts for their youth team.

The entries from the shortlisted Nigerian coaches highlight the positive impact that football has on their communities, equipping underprivileged young people with valuable life skills and giving them a sense of direction.

From the 25 shortlisted applicants, five finalists chosen by the judges will go through to a public vote, where they will compete for the chance to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools coaches. The five finalists will be featured on the website and voting will open in the last week of September.

WorldRemit will pay for the successful applicant to travel to London in October to attend the Future Stars camp. The programme will equip them with coaching skills which they can take back to build a lasting legacy of coaching excellence in their country.

Pardon Mujakachi, Head of Southern Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria & Ghana at WorldRemit said: “The high volume of entries we received from Nigeria is a clear indication of the importance of youth football coaching and the vital role of sport in the community. We see the strength of the entries from Nigeria as a very promising sign for the country’s future.

“Like these coaches, our customers are helping to build a better future for others. Our goal is to make it easier for them to do so. Following their example, we hope to use opportunities like our partnership with Arsenal to have a positive impact on communities across the globe.”

Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said:
“Football has the power to bring communities together, and through our relationship with World Remit we can really inspire confidence and encourage positive social change. We pride ourselves on excellence in all we do and we were very impressed with how strongly the commitment to outstanding coaching was reflected by Nigerians.

The work these participants have already done in developing their coaching shows the immense potential of coaching in Nigeria. The standard of entries was very impressive, making this a real challenge for the judges. We are eagerly anticipating the final results and look forward to welcoming the successful coach to London.”

Nigerians in the Future Stars shortlist:

Adegun Shola John from Lagos
Combining his love of football and teaching, Adegun has been a community coach for girls and boys for three years. He is motivated to lead fun training sessions, helping young people unlock their passion for football, avoid social vices and appreciate the value of hard work, friendship and respecting one another.

He would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal coaches to build on his football and coaching skills and enrich the programmes that he leads. He would also share his knowledge with other local coaches to improve the standard of training in the community.

Ezindu Okay-Lawrence from Abuja
A Christian missionary for his local chapel, Ezindu was motivated to become a football coach to help engage young people outside of school hours and give them a sense of direction.
He coaches both girls and boys, some of which have gone on to play for professional teams, and is an active member of the Nigerian Football Coaches Association (FCT Chapter, Abuja).

If he were to win a training session with Arsenal coaches, he would share his new skills and experience with other local community coaches in the Nigerian Football Coaches Association and show them that their hard work within the community has great value.

Felix Ifeanyi Nwosu from Enugu
After he stopped playing professional football five years ago, Felix decided to pass on his knowledge and experience by becoming a coach. He enjoys training young people and seeing them developing their skills in coaching sessions and matches. Previously, he has coached professional and amateur male and female teams in Kenya, Somalia and Nigeria. He is currently coaching a youth non-division side in Nigeria.

If he were to win a training session with Arsenal coaches, it would benefit both him and underprivileged children in his community. Improving his own coaching techniques would help him give the best possible training and support to young players.

Henry Uche Iwuanyanwu from Lagos
Henry coaches mixed football teams of various ages and enjoys seeing the players that he trains develop their skills and passion for the game. As well as coaching young people in Nigeria, he has also coached children in rural communities in Southeast Asia.

Henry was motivated to become a coach due to his love for sports, enthusiasm for teaching and ambition to help those within his community.

Winning a training session with Arsenal would benefit both Henry and his community. He would use the opportunity to build on his coaching skills and enhance his training programmes for players at all levels.

Ogunmefun Jerry Olaide from Lagos
Ogunmefun has been coaching football for over four years, during summer schools as well as at regular training sessions every week.

An ardent football fan and player himself, he is motivated to pass on his passion for the game to young people and help them to achieve their goals.

Winning a coaching session for Arsenal would be a dream for Ogunmefun. As well as building his own confidence and knowledge, the opportunity would also have a positive impact on his local community.

Oluwasegun Adeniyi from Lagos
Previously a coach for the under 12 and under 14 elite teams, Oluwasegun is a technical coordinator at Barça Academy. Here he trains and supervises the coaches in the delivery of their training sessions.

He has been passionate about football since he was a child but did not have access to proper clubs or academies to train. He started doing his FA badges while studying in the UK and was motivated to become a coach to offer the next generation the opportunity to hone their skills and discover their passion for football.

Oluwasegun and his friends started a small group to share information and knowledge with other coaches in Nigeria. If he were to win the coaching session with Arsenal, he would organise free seminars and workshops around Lagos to improve the standard of training in his community.