Grassroots football coach Chinasa Ukandu has been shortlisted alongside seven other African coaches for the Future Stars coaching programme organised by Premier League side Arsenal and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit.
The Future Stars programme which is in its second edition was launched by WorldRemit and Arsenal to recognise the valuable contributions that grassroots youth football coaches make to their communities by teaching the children they train life skills on and off the pitch.
Ukandu runs the Help Talent Academy in Lagos through which she provides young people between the ages of five and sixteen with an opportunity to develop football and life skills.
She was selected together with three other female coaches and four male coaches by a panel of judges from Arsenal from a pool of twenty other coaches from the Americas and Africa including four other Nigerians.
Organisers say the finalists were assessed based on their commitment to improving the lives of their community; their impact on young people within their community and the strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return home if they win the programme.
Through the Future Stars programme, WorldRemit will sponsor two winners – one male and one female – selected by a public vote on www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com to fly to London for a personalised training session with Arsenal Football Development coaches. Voting is open until 23:59 GMT on 11th November.
Ukandu completed phase three of the Premier Skills Coach Educators Course (an initiative by the English Premier League and British Council) in 2015 says she plans to organise a community coach training session on her return home to share her knowledge and experiences if she wins.
Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, said: “Through our community initiatives in London and abroad, we work hard to promote greater diversity in football and positively impact the lives of young people through sport.
“When developing this year’s Future Stars programme with WorldRemit, it was important for us to highlight the benefits of encouraging more women into the sport, both as players and as coaches. The eight finalists we have chosen all stood out to us due to their passion and commitment to using football to bring young people from all walks of life together.”
Male Future Stars finalists
Bakit Isaac Agogo from Gulu, Uganda
Feisal Abdi Hassan from Nairobi, Kenya
Luis Alejandro Castañeda Vargas from Bogotá, Colombia
Samuel Taylor from Accra, Ghana
Female Future Stars finalists
Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba from Nairobi, Kenya
Chinasa Ukandu from Lagos State, Nigeria
Joan Nabisenke from Kampala, Uganda
Vivian Johana Pirateque Garzón from Bogotá, Colombia