Ifeanyi Ubah Games Village: Taking the world to Nnewi
It is always a marvel to behold or listen to the man, Dr. Ubah speak. He is constantly full of ideas. New, unique and unassailable ideas backed by unrivaled confidence and enthusiasm.
He sounds very reassuring, makes the realisation of his dream so smooth and simple, that no pessimist stands his gusto. To him, there is no impossibility! He is an embodiment of the true “enyimba spirit.”
One of his ardent admirers had noted, “to be first in anything takes unbridled enthusiasm, unstoppable determination, bulldog tenacity, enormous amount of hard work and a justifiable dose of good luck.”
He added, “If you take all these characteristics, mix it with vivacious ideas, classic intelligence, reluctant patriotism and profound compassion for humanity, you will get an excellent depiction of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, Ebubechukwuzo!”
Dr. Ubah has truly excelled in virtually all endeavours he has embarked on. That’s why the games village, which would include, amongst other world class facilities and services, an indoor sports hall, two standard stadia, a five-star hotel, large conference centre, Women/Youth development centre, shopping mall, residential housing/estate, a sports academy, a technology hub, hospital, industrial park, administration/corporate office complex, a big shopping mall, a Linguistic school, Police post, Fire service station, Bank and other ancillary services. It will be a one-stop shopping community never seen in this part of the world before. A place where people live, work, play and enjoy! The whole large expanse of land today is like a huge factory buzzing round the clock.
It is constantly awake. And that would remain the same even after completion. The prototype clearly shows and captures the vision and mindset of Dr. Ubah -big, beautiful and resplendent. He’s a man of class, details and meticulousness Ubah, who told journalists that all his life he has been to and joined in building many cities of the world, including South Africa, Ghana, The Congo, Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, regrets that he has built none in his Nnewi community. He believes time is ripe for him to do one in his hometown, hence the idea of the one-stop shop called Games Village.
He plans to use it to provide above 50,000 high net worth jobs to citizens of the state, particularly Nnewi. So far, his budding interest and love for football saw the football pitch taking the lead in being completed.
This, according to the chairman of the FC Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club, Chief Chukwuma Ubah, gives the team the enviable lead as the first privately owned football club in Nigeria to own its stadium complex. Why not, after all in just two years of its existence the FC Ifeanyi Ubah has won two Anambra FA cups and the Nigeria’s Federation Cup. Again, within the first few days in 2017 the club has already won the nation’s Charity cup.
It is historical! And from all indications they are not going to let go at all. No champion ever relents; instead he goes higher, brooking no mediocre performance or failure. They are poised to take all comers and to confront all challenges as they come, with zeal and determination.
According to the BOT boss, “We don’t want our fans to get disappointed. We want to stabilize and aspire to go higher for more laurels. As the nation’s Federation Cup champions we would be meeting champions from other countries during the Confederation Cup campaign.”
He disclosed that some new foreign and local talented professional players, especially Brazilians, have already been engaged to beef up the team’s strength in all wings. “It is part of preparations for the expected engagements in the year, particularly the Confederation Cup championship. It is all about passion. We have enlightened Anambra youths on the import of football,” said, pointing out that being a footballer doesn’t stop or take one away from doing other things. “We are also working on launching our female football team soon. Our radio and television stations are almost completed and would soon go on air. We are getting youths enlightened to appreciate and be part of these. These will immensely benefit Anambra State and bring a lot of revenue to the state. The state will soon become actually the best place to be,” he enthused.
Dr. Ubah is the chairman of the Anambra FA, another platform he saw as a veritable channel to impact positively on the lives of youths, the society and the world, seeking no personal gain or interest.
That was part of why he created the Football Made In Anambra’s “One Family, One Footballer” programme. It is aimed at impacting every family in the state positively with the game of football and as well as other games in one way or another. He brought in 50,000 FIFA-approved balls for the project. He targets budding talents as young as 12 for the programme.
According to him, the aim is to raise 50,000 Ronaldos and 50,000 Messis! These are the two most captivating international household names in football. The aim is to discover them from the grassroots from where they will mature and graduate to the senior cadre for their respective clubs and national teams.
Dr. Ubah said he would use the One Family, One Footballer programme to get the youths off the streets and give them jobs.
Currently, the FC IfeanyiUbah, established in 2015, is the most popular, supported and encouraged privately owned football club in Nigeria, competing with age long clubs owned and funded by state governments from the common purse of the people. These facts notwithstanding, Ubah still supports these other clubs, including the national team from time to time.
In 2014, he took a large contingent of Nigerian football enthusiasts to the World Cup in Brazil on all-expenses paid trip. Their presence in no small measure bolstered the performance of the national team, Super Eagles. To almost all on that trip it was an experience and a world eye opener as they suddenly were catapulted by Dr. Ubah’s benevolence to the world stage, live. It was indeed indescribable, they admitted.
In fact, one of the lucky beneficiaries, Mr. Paul Ubi, a 27-year-old professional photographer, who was selected through a game show, said the experience remains everlasting in his young memory. He said that everyday of his life ever since the tour reminds him of the joyous heartwarming experience.
He added that none of the lucky beneficiaries from across the 774 council areas of the nation’s 36 states, including Abuja, could fathom that such was possible until their flight took off.
“It was indeed an experience like no other all my life,” Mr. Ubi enthused. “The exposure and experience helped us see, learn and understand how things are done professionally elsewhere. We in the FC Ifeanyi Ubah want to make things work out well always.”
Just recently, in part consummation of his club’s working relationship with a UK-based first class club-side, the West Ham United Football Club, Dr. Ubah took another set of lucky football supporters from Nigeria, all the members and management team of his own club, on an international tour of West Ham, the home of the West Ham United Football Club. They watched live their darling club play.
The arrangement was novel. It was cheering. It was indeed life transforming, as according to the Board of Trustees Chairman of the FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Chukwuma Ubah, “…it was a capacity building trip. It wasn’t a jamboree as some people thought it was.
“Participants were picked from all areas of club, including sports administration and management. It was meant to impact them positively and in turn be able to impact on others. We were at the West Ham home city and we learnt a lot.
“All these were investment in human capital because we believe that when you invest in human beings, it will further go down,” the club boss disclosed.
Ubah had shortly before the UK tour facilitated the coming to Nigeria, nay FCIU stadium at Nnewi of the West Ham United Managing director, Angus Kinnear, last October when the two clubs formally launched a historic football cooperation and development partnership.
This thus made FCIU the first such African partner club with the West Ham United FC. It was celebrated before a well-attended ceremony of sports administrators and stakeholders in Lagos. They included former and current international football stars in the country such as Henry Nwosu, Victor Ikpeba, Peter Rufai, Taribo West, Victor Agali, Julius Aghahowa and current Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu.
Also on hand to witness the epochal event were the Senate Committee Chairman on Sports, Senator Joseph Ogba; the Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung; the Nigerian Football Federation Chairman, Amaju Pinnick; League Management Company Chairman, Mallam Shehu Dikko, as well as the management and coaching team of the FCIU. It was indeed an historic moment that no sports buff anywhere would want to miss. Virtually everyone was there.
According to the details, the partnership was just part of the long term agreement the West Ham United FC management singed with Dr. Ubah earlier in August, 2016.
The relationship would see the two clubs work together in a long term partnership to produce and develop young Nigerian footballers. Dr. Ubah, whose eyes were on the development of youth football, noted that, “…Our vision is to get kids involved in football. Nigeria is a nation of over 180 million people. Nothing should stop us from producing the future Cristiano Ronaldos and Lionel Messis of this world.
“We have at least 18 areas we are partnering with West Ham United, ranging from scouting and merchandising to going to England to play friendly matches, among others. We chose West Ham United because they are famed for running the best academy in the world.
“With this partnership with West Ham United, we will produce over 50,000 footballers in [FC Ifeanyi Ubah’s home state of] Anambra soon.” Fantastic! A sport administrator from Anambra State said that hearing Ubah say those words made him feel like skipping up and down like a young deer in excitement.
Clearly, it wasn’t only Dr. Ubah that was basking in the enthusiasm. The West Ham United FC boss, had noted that, “We believe FC Ifeanyi Ubah are ideal partners as they share West Ham’s vision and ambition for youth football development.
“We are delighted to seal our first partnership in Africa and this trip has proved we could not have made a better choice. Whilst we are confident this partnership will deliver elite playing talent we will focus initially at the grassroots level where it has the capacity to turn young lives around.
With this, Anambra would soon return to the pinnacle of sports where it had always been before now. And the citizens would be the greatest beneficiaries.
That would be when the world would be trooping to Nnewi, the city of FC Ifeanyi Ubah’s place of domicile, to watch the club play, as well as other FIFA-backed national, continental and international football matches live. This would be just like the way they currently throng continental Europe to watch West Ham United FC, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, Juventus, Galatasaray and others play.
Ubah is already looking forward to the future. “In the next two to ten years, we want to look back and see that we have created a lot of value for Nigerian football, whilst simultaneously building the West Ham fan base in Africa’s most populous nation,” he said.His eyes are clearly fixed on the mark, and he would excel.