By John Egbokhan
Rangers legend, Ikechukwu Ofoje has been scouting for talented soccer players at Saint Finbarrs College, who he intends to draft into the American College system, where he operates as a top head soccer coach.
Doing this in collaboration with the Ogedegbe Football Academy, an academy founded by ex-international Nathaniel Ogedegbe, Ofoje, a former Rangers of Enugu captain was weekend spotted at the football pitch of Saint Finbarrs College conducting rigorous screening exercise on more than 60 players, drawn from various secondary schools in Lagos.
Ofoje and Ogedegbe went to America Universities on scholarship based on their soccer abilities and academic brilliance and are now in the forefront of providing the same opportunities to talented football kids who are also sound academically. The duo said the scouting mission conducted by Ofoje, who is a soccer coach in an American University, was their way of giving back to the society that shaped them to become who they are today.
And to achieve this, Ofoje took his time to watch the players showcase their stuff on the pitch while noting down important details spotted.
Speaking later, Ofoje said he was impressed with the performance of the players but highlighted the need for them to play with more intensity, purpose and drive, even as he harped on the need for the players to study.
He stressed the need for the players to concentrate on their academics as they would rely more on it later in their life when they must have stopped playing soccer.
”The bottom line is to go to school even if you want to pursue a career in soccer and that is why I am always telling youngsters who want to play soccer that they must look t life after football as more important that the present time and it is basically education that can keep you going for years to come”, said Ofoje.
On his part, Ogedegbe, a structural engineer in the USA, urged the students to strive for academic excellence even as they pursue stardom through soccer, noting that ”quality education is what will keep you going on for years when football leaves you because football is just for a time and from experience, not everyone will make it in football but your education would stand you out and make way for you in the future”.