Whether Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ahmed Musa or Mikel Obi, all football superstars come from grass root clubs. There are hundreds of thousands of grass root clubs around the world. Many of them, however, remain unheard of as long as they have not been able to produce a star.
|Weyi (left) and Kwa (right). Picture source: Yiro Abari|
In the mid-seventies, a club by the name of Volcano Babes emerged from the town of Miango in Plateau State, Nigeria. It was named after the volcanic hills that greet one arriving the town. Later, younger members of the club pulled out and formed another club by the name of Forest. The name, Forest, came from the forest just after the volcanic hills. Since the formation of Forest in the 1980s it was unable to produce a star beyond the boundaries of the town until David Solomon Abwo emerged from it in 1999. To become fully known, David went through JC Raiders of Jos, Niger Tornadoes of Minna, and Enyimba of Aba. Currently, he plays for Giresunspor of Turkey. While at Niger Tornadoes he was invited to the Nigerian Under-20 squad. The team went to as far as the runners-up in the FIFA Under-20 football tournament, Holland 2005.
It is the rise of Abwo that called the attention of Forest handlers to the reality that the club, as indistinct as it is, has the capacity to produce a star of Abwo’s caliber. Knowing this, the club started keeping an eye on its players with the hope of producing others like Abwo. Right now, the coaches at Forest feel that they now have not just a player but two that can rise to the height to which Abwo has risen. John Weyi and Rozhi Kwa are two players the coaches strongly feel have the quality.
“Isn’t it possible that a good player would always find a club?” I asked coach Sunday Witeh, who also mentored Abwo.
“In a place like Nigeria, the prospect may not always there,” Witeh told me.
Witeh went on to tell me that even Abwo needed some kind of bridge to walk to where he now finds himself. This he found in the former member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Lumumba Dah Adeh. Adeh on becoming a member of the National Assembly founded JC Raiders with the primary aim of helping boys from Miango town where he also hails. JC Raiders played at a lower rung of the Nigerian Football League but was able to bring Abwo to the noticed of Nigerian football administrators, finding his way to Niger Tornadoes.
Right now, with JC Raiders defunct, Witeh strongly feels that all that his two boys need is another ladder on which to climb to the sky. At the moment, he says, he is looking up to Abwo himself. He has been trying to reach him but it is just that when one rises to that height there are always a lot of issues in his mind. For now, he is the only hope they have, and pray he would find time to look in their direction, while they also seek help from anywhere they can find.