My Father Ruined My Football Career

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Echezona Obikwelu is the Chief Coach of Melidion Academy.Obikwelu popularly known as Sir Peter bares his mind on how his father frustrated him out of football with GRASSROOTS Soccer Guide

Coach, your team are in the final of U-17 African Super Cup, what are your expectations?
I expect good match in the final. My players are in high spirits. They have promised to win the cup for me.

Do you know anything about your opponents Peace Academy?
Our opponents are good side. They didn’t lose any match on their way to the final. The time has come for them to taste defeat when they confront us on Sunday.

Tell us about your programme  this year?
We are going to participate in Lagos MTN Street Soccer, U-17 Collins Edwin Cup and all other YSFON organised tournaments.

Has the Academy recorded any achievement in the recent time?
We have won so many laurels.We won NAFA Cup in 2000.We also won U-15 Catholic Cup, when we defeated SS Mulumba and David Catholic Church Football team in the final. Late last year, we won first Haruna Ilerika five a-side tournament. We defeated Alade Football Academy 3-1.

Your Academy won a tournament in Benin Republic. Tell us more about the competition?
It is true that we won an invitational tournament in Benin Republic. It was organised for U-17. Academies from Ghana, Cameroon, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Chad and host country participated in the competition. We defeated AS Asaple Academy from Benin 3-2 on penalty shootout after a barren draw in the regulation time.

Most of the academies we played against were from French countries, how did your team communicate with them?
It was a tough one but fortunately for us, one of our players, Ikechukwu Ndubuisi, who is still playing his professional football in Benin Republic helped us to interprete .

When did you form this academy?
It was established in 1994.We started with 40 player but today we have at least 80 players in the team.

Did you play football before veered into a coaching profession?
My late father frustrated me out of  football. When he was alive,  he wanted me to become a police officer like him, which was against my wish.

Did you play  for professional club, before he stopped you?
I was in 3SC Feeder team  when my father told me not to play football. When the problem was too much, I ran to Lagos to stay with my uncle to continue my football career .My father told my uncle not to allow me to play football in Lagos

At what point you quit Football?
When I could not concentrate on my football career any longer. It was so painful that I did not play the round leather game before I became a coach.But I thank God that today I am not a policeman but a recognised coach as far as grassroots football clubs is  concerned in Lagos State

Have you forgiven your father for that?
I have forgiven him but I cannot forget it.

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