Every young footballer in Nigeria, I guess all over West Africa, has this lofty dream to play abroad. The thing is, most of them do not even have the slightest idea of how to realize this dream. They’re resigning to hope that one day, a scout or player’s agent would come around to discover them in their ‘shell.’
Unfortunately, most agents would rather not go for grassroots players, because they are largely unprofitable. These young talents are in their ‘Raw’ state and very difficult to transfer abroad. It’s usually a huge financial risk in trying to push untested players over to Europe for try-outs.
But this was what Benson Chukwueke saw and believe he has found a relatively untapped market niche. A need he thinks he can creatively fill – over 25 million young footballers in Nigeria want to play abroad. And if expanded it across West African sub-region, we may looking at over 150 million youngsters in the offing. A large market size that motivated him to start a football marketing and management consult he named: GreenHunters Sports International.
Indeed, Chukwuekek has carried this vision for a longtime. Back in the 80s’ while he was still playing Amateur League with Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), he found out there were large number of incredible youngsters wasting their football talents in Ajegunle. He thought he has to exposure these talents to the world, so he decided to start a youth team called ‘Royal Stars.’ Where he personally trained players between the ages of 13 -17 years old. The team raised great players like Chiedo Chukwueke, Ikpe Ekiong for the junior national teams and later Victor Egere, Ejiro Onome and Ndubusi ‘Wowo’ Chukwunyere were transferred to Malta.
In preparation to pursue this vision, Chukwueke studied at Federal Polytechnic Nekede, where he obtained a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing. He worked as a client Service Executive in SAAL Advertising and later a Sport Analyst/ Marketing Manager in an online Portal www.ngex.com . While on the job, he studied and obtained a Post graduate Certificate in Sport Marketing, before he branched out to start GreenHunters Sports International.
Chukwueke actively run operation of the company with support from his wife, Helen Chukwueke, a former Media Planning and Buying Manager at Mediamytix; Drothy Nwakama of Holyfield Chambers, as company Legal Adviser, Micheal Asomugha of Micky Travels, as visas, ticketing and reservations support officers…
His simple mantra is this: “Dream Football, and let’s make it come alive for you” – At Greenhunters Sports International, “We Ride on your Dreams!”
Once a talented footballer is able to make contact with Benson Chukwueke, his journey to stardom begins. GreenHunters quickly provide you information: “How to Achieve Your Football Dreams” – packaged in eBook format. Then the player is invited to play, for on the spot assessment of his talent. From the report gathered from the assessors (Group of Coaches), a road map will be established for the selected player. Usually, a three to one year training regime as the case may be, where the player’s skills could be refined before he can be taken to trials abroad.
Of course, not every player that appeared for assessment can be selected. Some just doesn’t have what it takes. And Chukwueke isn’t planning to transfer 25 million Nigerians to play abroad. He’s just trying to harness as much quality talents, and package them for the best markets abroad
Over the years, Greenhunters has established such good working relationship with some foreign organization: Total Soccer Methods (TSM) Netherlands, Football CV UK, Box-to-Box Germany, Lederbroch Spain, Global Soccer Placement USA and such professionals like: Roger Bongearts,, Joe Martinez, Christian Omolo, Ray Curran… that partners with the company to achieve the set goals for these youngstaers.
The niche market has its own peculiar challenges. Most of these youngsters are from difficult background and seems not having any significant income to pay their way through. That means Greenhunters may have find to support organizations to sponsor their services for these youths.
The players approach GreenHunters , crying for help, as if it is a charity organization. They find it difficult to even pay for the services rendered to them at minimal price. This is presently telling on the company’s bottom line, but Chukwueke won’t give up on this laudable vision.
Chukwueke believe that the success of just one player could lead to a total poverty eradication for his whole family lineage, even the generation next – this has been his definite purpose and the reason he has continued to motivate himself to push on the business.
In this year 2015, two player signed for Sheriff FC Malodva, one player signed for VVV Venlo youth team in Netherlands and got scholarship admission to play and study in Kansas University’s FC Pirate USA. Another five players have been selected and are in different stages of their refinement regime.
Yes! You can still be part of it. If you’re confident that you have what it takes to participate. Call: +234 809 877 2556 and kick off your journey to stardom.