The President of the Diamond Football Academy,Hon. Martin Ikechukwu Apugo is certainly a fulfilled man not for the heights he has attended in life but for the reasons of making something out of nothing.
His passion for football as a boy who came from Umuahia Abia State growing into the excitement of playing soccer as a kid, made him establish a football Academy just for the fun of it,and younger lads often come with canvass ,shoes and slippers,at some point he spends his money on refreshment buying food before you know it those of the players without proper football kits were gradually equipped to proper sports outfits.
The dream of yesterday became his excitement today,excitement over his efforts and dreams in building the Academy with the sole purpose of discovering talents from the streets within his locality and across Nigeria.
A project he started selflessly with no intentions of making out gains,it wasn’t for business purposes but to watch good football and appreciate God’s giving talents,hence the idea of an arena where the boys he love watching will gather to play football,as he intently believed that one day God will use somebody as an instrument weither him or any other person but he’s only but passionate.
Apugo spoke about this passion again during the round off tournament of the talent hunt at the Academy’s playground ,when the football heritage of African continent was showcased to the amazement of Manchester United scouts and other scouts across Europe who described the bundle of skills they saw in the young stars whose age ranges from 14 to 20 years as inexplicable .
He also said that part of his passions for the Academy is because it pays in terms of youth development in the areas of football,a feat that earned about 3 of the Academy players a call up to the national team under 17 which eventually won the 2015 junior world cup in Chile notably Samuel Chukwueze and. Kelechi Nwakali who could have wasted in the streets ordinarily.
He promised that he will continue to do more in order to give upcoming stars the opportunity to excel in Nigeria’s National Team and Europe.
In his words, Apugo said
“I have no regrets because it is my passion to develop talents,in Diamond Academy,we have coaches who came from Europe and Nigeria National Team”.
“You have no excuse to perform even at the world Football stage as a player “
Speaking at the end of the tournament ,the Manchester United scout ,Jonny Peeters,while presenting the gift items to some of the players,lauded the level of progress and impact of the Academy ,in terms of capacity biulding.
He noted that Diamond Football Academy has raised the standard high with the exposure they give to the youths in Nigeria.
He however, felt impressed by the quality and skills showcased by few players of Diamond Football Academy and looked forward to a possible collaborations with the Academy.
“They are really the best in terms of quality ,i must said that i appreciated the three days and i understand how difficult it is in Nigeria”
“I saw few talents and i love the organization and quality in the Team”.
Diamond Football Academy periodically organizes tournaments ,inviting scouts from Europe to watch some of the good players.
These affords football teams across the country opportunity to showcase their players for export in top clubs in Europe and the proprietor of Diamond Football Academy provides training for talented players with the services of Coaches both in Europe and Nigeria’s National Team to train .
Some of the revelations since the inception of the tournament includes Samuel Chukwueze who plays in the Super Eagles of nigeria and currently engaged in the on-going 2019 Afcon and Kelechi Nwakali amongst others.