Interview: MTE Scouting and Trial Organizer Benson Chukwueke - Release Time Table for the Upcoming Trial Events in Nigeria

We had a chat with  Sport Marketing Consultant and a co-organizer of Masterclass Talent Exhibition (MTE), Benson Chukwueke. Here’s what he had to say about his football work, MTE and upcoming football trials.

1. Let’s hear a little about you first, how did you get to become a football consultant?

I’ll say I was born into a football family. My father played for (NPA) Marine FC and the (Red Devils) Nigeria national team in the 50s' and my younger brother also played for (Golen Eaglets) U16 and (Flying Eagles) U21 National team in 95 and 97 respectively. So, I've been in football my whole life.

I started as a player, I played semi-professionally and later in my career I transitioned into  coaching. I once owned an Amateur club (Royal FC) while always being more and more interested in the business aspect of the beautiful game. Through the years I’ve tried my hand in many different positions and gained a lot of experience in the football world through different angles. I went ahead to study Sport Marketing Management 2007.

2. Why did you choose Football Marketing Management as a Career?

When you’re in football for a while you start to notice trends and patterns that affect the sport and the people in it. I’ve noticed there is an abundance of football talents in the West African region...especially in Nigeria, who haven’t got that right chance in their career... like they’ve gone up through the ranks at the grassroots and stagnate, which can happen to anyone who never got the right chance. They lost their confidence and got ‘pushed out' of their first love.

There are many other aspects I've been involved in the development of the sport in this part of the world, but they may not be too relevant to this chat.

3. You’ve recently organized a trial in Lagos, what were the outcomes?

Yes, we’ve organized a trial in Lagos Nigeria with selected 15 players from different states in the country. It was quite a challenge for me and the organizing team of Masterclass Talent Exhibition; but I think we’ve managed quite well.

Video footage of players that did very well during the exhibition have been sent to clubs abroad. In the following weeks some of them will be traveling to Europe to attend trials with some of the top clubs... while four players signed a contract with an agent who’ll represent them and help them with their career. All in all, I look at it as a success and a stepping stone for other projects.

4. When is the next trial project coming up?

- Yes, we’re organizing a similar event in Lagos in September. Two Scouts and an Agent is coming from Netherlands and Malta and we’re all psyched. We all benefited from the last experience in MTE, the conditions in Lagos will be amazing and I think that the players who’ll come for this one are gonna be very satisfied.

This time we’re cooperating with an influential player's agent Henry Ekezie.who I think can do a whole lot of good for the players here. He is the one coordinating these Scouts, Coaches and Agents coming for abroad for the events.

- By November we are bringing more foreign agents from Europe and we will be taking them round Nigeria and Ghana. The trials will be tagged "Top African Talents for Europe."

- On going, we're recruiting African players to an Amateur club registered to operate in Qatar. Sal-Ruff FC mission in Qatar is to engage theit players in several scouting tounaments where Agents, Scouts and Managers can easily see them play. All eyes will be on Qatar aftet 2018 World cup in Russia and Sal-Ruff International want to position these players in the oil rich country. I am fully invoved in the recruitment of players and their travel.

- Finally, MTE will go regional in Nigeria and Ghana from December 2017. The Talent Assessment will hold in  Abuja, Ijebu Ode, Kano,  Owerri and Accra from December to February. The selected players from each region will gather in Lagos for the grand finale in April...where foreign agents, Scouts and managers will also attend and the event broadcast by a television station with a global reach.

5. Last question, what is your level of Success in the Transfer market so far?

As we know the transfer market is hectic and very unpredictable, one need to continually expand  his network to increase the possibility of more success in the future. I’ve managed to find new clubs for a few players. I’ve been able to transfer Chisom Egbuchulam to BK Hacken Sweden in February this year, with the help of an Agent.

In the past, I got in contact with Roger Bongearts when he was still the Head coach of Pirates FC University of Kansas USA and together we worked on Scholarship Admissions for several players and later on, we were instrumental to the transfer of Ejiro Omotade to VVV. Venlo, a club from the Netherlands top division where Ahmed Musa also started his career years ago.

Nuel Oparaocha had also helped me in the past, to transfer my younger brother Chiedo Chukwueke and Isaac Okoronkwo (Former Super Eagles defender) to FC Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova. And many more.

6. Thank you for time

You're welcome.

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