US-based philanthropist, Dr Napoleon Onyechi has offered incentives to John Utaka Academy of Minna in support of the team’s proposed playing tour of France, early next month.
The Grand patron of the club was the guest of honour during a friendly match between John Utaka Academy and FC International at Old Parade Ground, Abuja to commemorate his award with a doctoral degree in health management by Irsbaccom Universality of Benin Republic.
• Napoleon Onyechi takes the ceremonial kick off at the match between John Utaka Academy and FC International at Old Parade Ground, Abuja
Onyechi, accompanied by his wife, described the match organised by the academy, owned by former Super Eagles’ striker, John Utaka as an honour he never anticipated.
“I am honoured to see the young people come out to support me and participate in this joyful occasion. I feel humbled and proud of the young kids and urge them to devote their time to something productive instead of hanging out on the streets. Anything I can do to support them, I will. This is our home. We have to support our own children and give them the right direction,” Onyechi said.
The team is due to play a series of friendly matches with youth clubs in France including Lyon, Nice, Monaco, Strasbourg and Montpellier, where Utaka is presently an assistant coach.
The Vice President of John Utaka Academy, Usman Chatta applauded Onyechi, who was introduced to the club by Soccer Ambassador, Friday Kudjah for his gesture, saying his visit has motivated the team.
Chatta said the team that has former National U-17 player, Yusuf Bolarinwa and Jimmy Abdul that played in the last U-20 WAFU Cup and a couple of players from Ghana, was in Abuja to process its visa to travel by the first week of May. The team was forced to alter its original travel plan of this month arising from delay in booking flight for all 22 players and eight accompanying officials.
He said the tour of France will boost the morale of the team as they will play Strasbourg, which is presently placed fifth in the French League. He said the French team has been calling day in day out to know about the team’s arrival time for this particular friendly.
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