The 5th in My Nigeria, the documentary series by Aljazeera, features Femi Bamigboye, The Head Pastor of the Adopted Christian Assembly/Founder and Coach of the Remo Football Academy.
Football, like Bamigboye acknowledges, is akin to religion in Nigeria and the man’s love for the game coupled with his passion to inspire young people lead to his unalloyed commitment to developing the sport. According to Bamigboye’s wife, Janet, the academy, which is based in Iperu, one of the 33 towns that make up Remo; has channelled the energies of youngsters into the round leather game, keeping them away from cultism, robbery and gambling.
Akpan Udoh, the current goalkeeper of Nigeria’s Under-17 National team, is Femi Bamigboye and Remo Football Academy’s best success story. Born to Isaac and Rita Udoh, he aims to become a Nigerian international who will eventually change the fortunes of his impoverished folks. Additionally, Samuel, Femi Bamigboye’s son, has shown a lot of promise and is hoping to join the U-17 team as well.
The research team for My Nigeria is applauded for identifying and telling Femi Bamigboye’s exceptional story of encouraging young boys aged 13 – 17 in his community to develop their skills in football. Setting the story in the build-up to the match between the Remo Football Academy and Nikslay FC fills the movie with suspense. Then, the actual match convinces the audience that Bamigboye places a premium on character followed by learning. The players from the Remo Academy refrain from retaliating the rough treatment their opponents mete out to them.
The filming of the project coincides with fuel scarcity occasioned by claims of unpaid subsidy by oil marketers. It is heartwarming that currently, there are concerted efforts to solve the perennial problems in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Despite his knowledge of football, Coach Bamigboye employs Joshua Udah to train goalkeeper Akpan Udoh. This restates the need for individuals to focus on their areas of competence and seek help as and when due.
The overriding lesson from Bamigboye’s initiative and investment is that sport development is one of the several ways to combat large scale youth unemployment because apart from the sportsmen and women themselves, several other professionals and unskilled workers will be required to drive different sporting activities.
Government, organizations and individuals, who wish to make an impact in developing local talent in sport must, like Bamigboye, invest in the young ones. These investments should be made in various sporting activities so that in future, Nigeria will be positioned to win medals at different sporting tournaments. International best practice, especially regarding the welfare packages for those who work in that field, should be the watchword in order to make such activities attractive to Nigerians,.