By McPatrick Michael Linus, Abuja
Convention-Star Football Club, Kubwa Abuja was founded a little over a year ago by Mr. Jeff-frank Marcel, a football fan who is into the business of poultry farming.
Managed and coached by its founder, the club started out “with just a few players” but today “have enough players to play two teams,” Mr. Jeff-Frank told The Dream Daily.
According to its founder, “our aim is to source for raw grassroots talents and groom them into international stars.”
The club runs on the resources provided by its founder and personal contributions of the players. Said Mr. Jeff-Frank: “So far, all resources used to run this team is through personal effort. While we’re yet to officially register and play in the FCT soccer league, we organise local competitions and play with other grassroots soccer clubs around. We’ve also played and beaten clubs in neighbouring states, especially in Kaduna.”
Mr. Jeff-Frank has high hopes for the crop of players in his club and is determined to instil discipline in the team to develop the latent talents in the players. He said: “Some of my players are stars in the making. Discipline is our watch word here in Convention-Star Football Club. We try our best to inculcate discipline in our players. Discipline is an essential ingredient in the life of a soccer player. We want them to fit into the national teams and play in international clubs abroad. That requires a lot of discipline. Here we don’t tolerate indiscipline, pride and lack of self-esteem.”
As a founder-financed grassroots football team, Convention-Star FC faces a number of challenges. Top on the list is a lack of training facilities in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja. Mr, Jeff-Frank said: “There is a lack of sporting facilities to encourage grassroots sports here. In the whole of Kubwa there is no single mini-stadium; not even a befitting soccer field for training. We’re at the mercy of private field owners like this one you met us on, and most public primary and secondary schools fields around here are not good for football.
“Then there is the general lack of support from the area councils, the states – in our case, the FCT – and even the Federal Government for grassroots sports development. There are no plans in place to develop grassroots football and sports generally in Nigeria. Even the big clubs in the country are neglected in terms of support and sponsorship. This is not good and should be addressed by the authorities.”
Despite the challenges though, Jeff-Frank is optimistic about the prospect of his boys in building careers in football: “The future is of bright for us. With the right attitude and God on our side, we see ourselves playing in the professional league soon. Just be on the lookout for some of my stars who would take the country by storm in the future,” he told The Dream Daily.