Chidi Miller, a product of the Germany-based Nigerian Grassroots Football Federation (NGFF), hosted a gathering match on Sunday at Abalti Barracks, near Ojuelegba, Surulere, Lagos.
It was a gathering of three different generations of former NGFF players, who responded to the call of their former team manager, Mr. Oscar Ezinwa Emmanuel, to honor exhibition play on the new state-of-the-art synthetic pitch at the barracks.
A total of 25 grassroots products appeared for the game, with 13 lined up for the local stars, while 12 lined up for the Foreign Legion.
The match, which had coach Benji as match referee and took place in two halves of 25 minutes each, finally ended 1-1.
Captain of the local stars, David Michael opened the scoring midway through the first half, but former Swedish attacker Emeka Uchechi equalized for the foreign legion.
The younger brother of China’s 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt Soaring Eagles assistant captain Daniel Uchechi appeared in attack alongside his brother, Paul, supported in midfield by Miller, Tokunbo Olorungbemi, Ibrahim Sugar and Cypriot Daniel Kanu (also known as A Boy).
Also starring were foreign boys Akeem Pablo, Sunday Ibrahim, Sugar Ibrahim, Iwoha Prince, Benjamin Nsoro, and the team’s goalkeeper, Teryima Ibo.
The opposing side had Williams Dipriye in goal, with a back line consisting of Taofeek Jamiu (Janjala), Praise Olukayode, Bamiyo Achebu and Toheeb Aremu.
Also on his team were Desmond Nwaka, Chimobi Nwaka, Abayomi Lawal, Kazeem Adegoke, Abeeb Amekhame, Olamide Akinduro, and Sunny Fasetire.
An euphoric Miller, who extended thanks to all the players, organizers and supporters, spoke in an emotional tone after the heart-pounding game.
Miller said: “I’m happy everyone came to honor me, even on such short notice. I’ll try to do this more often, because I plan to come home twice a year.
“I don’t promise that I will take anyone to a club abroad, but I can help some of the younger ones with their studies.
“That’s what helped me after I couldn’t get very far in football. I went back to my books and today I am happy that I have a master’s degree and I am a consultant in data processing.
“I think I can help one or two young people around me to get admission to schools abroad. It is my own way of giving back to the system that produced me, while also providing a means through which we can have ongoing contact and maintain our unity. Thank you.”
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