By James Agberebi:
English Premier League side, West Ham United, have entered into a partnership deal with Nigeria Professional Football League side FC IfeanyiUbah,Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The partnership deal was officially signed on Wednesday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
Those present at the event included Proprietor of FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah; Managing Director of West Ham United, Angus Kinnear; Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick; Chairman, League Management Company, Shehu Dikko and Chairman senate committee on sports, Obinna Ogba.
Also present at the event were former Nigeria internationals; Peter Rufai, Friday Elahor, Julius Aghahowa, Victor Agali, Henry Nwosu, Joseph Yobo, Godwin Opara and Taribo West.
Part of the deal signed by both clubs will see FC Ifeanyi Ubah going to England to play friendlies with West Ham United, players transfers, amongst others.
Commenting on the deal, Dr. Ubah said: "Our aim is to work with best world practice. Whatever that you see in London, I am sure in the next couple of months, you will start seeing the same thing in Nigeria.
"We've taken a good step by having a formidable team. A club (Ifeanyi Ubah) that just got into the NPFL last season and finished 11th position and in the just concluded season, we ended 4th.
"Like they say, a journey of a million mile starts with a step, but it must be a good one. We are bringing a lot of innovations into the industry. You can see some of our foreign players, our different coaches from Brazil, Bulgaria as well as Nigerian coaches. But the most passionate part of our business is grassroots development.
"We should not forget the days of little beginning. Our business is to start getting our children to have football consciousness, have passion for football, play football and let us see how a country like Nigeria will not produce at least 10 Messis and 10 Ronaldos in the next four years.
"In our football, we are not producing enough players but we are highly talented. So partnering with West Ham, we have a lot of interest in terms of revenue for our club, in terms of partnering with a good brand, in terms of partnering with the best football academy in the world which West Ham is known for.
"Also, we are looking at interest which ranges from scouting, football development, transfer of players, going to England during summers to play friendly match with West Ham, promotion of our merchandise.
"So what we have with West Ham is multi-dimensional. And at the end of the day we are promoting a very strong Nigerian brand in England."
According to Kinnear: "When West Ham go into partnership, we are very selective. We only want to partner with people that share our vision and values. In Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah and Capital Oil and Gas, we found that. We found a group of companies with extraordinary vision and a real pioneering experience.
"And what we were also pleased to see was that this wasn't empty words, this was ambition and vision backed up by action. We only have to look at the fantastic progress Ifeanyi Ubah have made in the last two years to see that this is a team, a company and a man that deliever.
"Our vision is only limited by our ambition. We believe this partnership will be truly ground-breaking. As Dr. Ubah said, the partnership is very expansive."