By Olawale Ayeni, and Juliana Etebom Abuja
The proprietor of FC ONE Rockets Football Club, of Eket, in Akwa Ibom, Otuekong Nse Essien, has said that promotion to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) would be the target of the club at the commencement of the 2020/21 Nigerian National League (NNL) season.
Essien, in a chat with LEADERSHIP Sunday Sports, said that that the recently appointed technical crew and the players are working tirelessly to deliver on the mandate given to them by the club management.
“FC One Rocket is not in the league to make up numbers, am a very competitive person, a goal-getter and I desire that we should be in the NPFL by the grace of God next year, we appointed a new technical department in August who is capable of leading the team to the NPFL,” he said.
“We also have an academy which I unveiled about two weeks ago, I start the academy in July, we cover all programs, it like a mini national team because all tribes are here, so the academy serves as the feeder team to the main team”.
Essien, who is the Deputy Chief Whip of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, and Chairman Committee on Security, Youth and Sports, announced that his Eket-based outfit, which recently acquired the NNL slot of Collins Edwin SC, will be run as a business venture.
“It is an opportunity to take the young people out of crime and take them out of the street and give them a platform to excel and by doing this it creates an enabling environment also for us to do business because football is a money-spinning business in the world“.
“If you look at the budget of teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid and others you will realise that this is sometimes more than the budget of states and third world countries and we also look at the business part of it where we can generate revenue from the transfer of players to fund the business of football”.
He further revealed how he started FC One Rocket while advocating for the development of grassroots sports, saying it is the bedrock to success at the world biggest stage.
“FC One Rocket is an acronym of my name football club Otuekong Nse Essien, the team is here for business to help the young people, I started this team 5-years ago, when some young men decided to use my name and be playing local competitions in Uyo, the urge of keeping them and give them platform motivated me, the team coach then came to approach me and ask that I register in the state league, but then my ambition has always been that I owned a football club within and also out of Nigeria”.
“We decided to go into the national league so we acquired a slot to play in the national-wide league one that was last year, then the pandemic came so we took a hunt and so during August after talking to my people so we decided to take a step higher in the Nigerian football league, so we are now playing as the Nigeria National League (NNL) the opportunity came so we acquire the slot of Collins Edwin SC“.
“Grassroots sports development is very important if we want to have a good future in sports in Nigeria, we must encourage the youth by organising quality tournaments and map out plans that will be sustained in nurturing them to stardom as to what is obtainable in the western countries” he added.