Dreams and the fire of hope that power us to achieve them is the honey that gives life its taste. For over 700 youth football coaches across Africa, a dream to be more for their players started by filling in the WorldRemit “Future Stars” application form for a once in a lifetime opportunity to train alongside seasoned coaches from Arsenal Soccer Schools in London.

Today, 25 coaches are closer to the dream as they have been shortlisted from eight different countries putting them a step closer to the taste of success. For the 2018 Future Award initiative, of the 25 coaches shortlisted by public vote, Nigeria emerged with the highest amount of candidates with no less than 6 coaches: Adegun Shola John, Ezindu Okay-Lawrence, Felix Ifeanyi Nwosu, Henry Uche Iwuanyanwu, Ogunmefun Jerry Olaide, Oluwasegun Adeniyi.

The “Future Stars” programme, a first of its kind initiative to empower local African youth football coaches to better serve their young players was conceived by WorldRemit with the ethos of their business at heart: giving back to the community. As the leading international digital money transfer service platform that allows migrants and expats to send funds back home to develop their native communities, it only seemed right to run a programme that involved giving back -  and what better way to do it than through the one sport that unites cultures irrespective of borders.

Within only a single week, over 700 applications were in, speaking to the importance of why these sort of initiatives need to happen more often across fields.

Pardon Mujakachi, Head of Southern 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.”

The shortlisted 25 coaches will now face a panel of judges who will further reduce the selection to five finalists before being featured on the futurestars.worldremit.com website where voting for the eventual winner will again be open to the public in the last week of September. Arsenal is waiting!

Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said:

“Football has the power to bring communities together, and through our relationship with WorldRemit 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.

About WorldRemit

WorldRemit is changing the way people send money.

It’s easy – just open the app or visit the website – no more agents, no more queues, no more time wasted

·       Transfers to most countries are instant – send money like an instant message.

·       Send money anytime with award-winning customer service team available to help 24/7

·       85,000 5-star reviews for our app

·       More ways to receive (Mobile Money, bank transfer, cash pickup, and mobile airtime top-up).

·       Available in over 50 countries and more than 145+ destinations.

·       Backed by Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

About Arsenal Football Club

Arsenal is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.

The club was founded in 1886 in Woolwich, south London, before moving to Highbury in north London in 1913. We moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Arsenal has an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners a record 13 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once. In addition, Arsenal Women are the most successful English club in women’s football. They celebrated their 30th season last year.

The Arsenal Foundation uses the power of football and the Arsenal name to inspire and support young people in north London and across the globe. The Arsenal Foundation raises funds each year and works with a number of key partners including Save The Children, Islington Giving, Willow and the Gunners’ Fund. Locally, Arsenal in the Community has delivered programmes to drive positive social outcomes for more than 30 years.

For further information please visit www.arsenal.com

About Arsenal Soccer Schools

Arsenal Soccer Schools encourage children to be active whilst learning to play football; with the emphasis placed on passing, movement, creativity and technical development through teamwork.

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