By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Proprietor of Ozalla FC, Ikenna Osueke has described his victory last Sunday during the grand finale of the 2023 Neros Pharmaceuticals Anambra FA Cup as a payback for investment in youths of the state via the instrumentality of club football.
Mr Osueke made the remarks shortly after his team defeated Edel FC of Nnewi 1-0 at the Neros Sports Stadium, Nanka on Easter Sunday.
The recent feat by the young football administrator and club owner puts him on the map as the undisputed youngest club Proprietor in the state to lift Anambra’s version of the oldest club football competition in the land.
He gave thanks to God for the victory while also eulogizing his lads for their focus, dedication, commitment, discipline and hardwork in achieving the feat.
“I am super delighted with the victory considering our history and the status of the team we defeated in the finals of the 2023 Neros FA Cup, Edel FC, who are the defending champions and play at top levels of Nigerian club football,
“I give glory to God for sustaining us and giving us the capability to stay on in a very tough terrain of administering club football in Nigeria with limited support and resources. I won’t fail to eulogize my players as without their commitment, dedication and perseverance we wouldn’t have come this far,” he said.
The club which was formed in 2009 has endured the storm of football sponsorship and persevered to stay afloat in the murky waters of Nigerian club football circus.
“Ozalla Football Academy came into existence in 2009. Since then, we’ve been keeping afloat. We have been playing in the state FA Cup and other tournaments but between 2014 and now, we have featured in about three or four FA Cup quarter final stage and on each occasion, its been FC Ifeanyi Ubah that had always ended our dream of reaching the semi final or even the final.
“So, when we qualified for the semi final, something in me told me this could be our time. Like a popular politician said, ‘it’s our turn’ this time and God in his infinite mercies crowned our efforts,” Osueke posited.
The proprietor disclosed that he has been singlehandedly bankrolling the club while hoping that financial aid can come by way of sponsorship.The young club Proprietor informed that since the formation of the club, Ozalla FA has produced a litany of successful footballers who are now household names at both national and international levels.
“We have players playing at different tiers of Nigerian club football from NPFL which is the highest level down to NNL and NLO1 teams are not left out. On the international stage, we have some of our players in South Africa, Czech Republic, Germany and Belgium.
“Ofcourse, prominent amongst them is Raphael Onyedika who’s like our poster boy playing for Belgium top Division one club, Clubbe Brugge who are featuring in the UEFA Champions League.
“At Ozalla Football Academy, our objective is to offer the youths a platform to express their talents, help them grow and and make a positive living through their God-given football talent,” Osueke said.
Ozalla FA will represent Anambra State in the NFF Federation Cup, they will also feature in the Nigeria Nationwide League Two (NLO2) campaign which is expected to kick off in the month of May 2023.