JEWELS ACADEMY: “A VISION FOR YOUTH ENGAGEMENT AND CAREER ACTUALISATION” – PROPRIETOR
The proprietor, Jewels Academy, Ohanze Abia State, Ikechukwu “Bestman” Aaron has made known the idea behind setting up the soccer outfit.
In an exclusive chat with the media in Uyo, Mr Aaron opines:
“As at 2018, well, latter part of 2017, we came up with the vision of bringing out young people from the streets of Aba and creating a platform for them to pursue a career in soccer – more like a give-back-to-society project to be able to ameliorate the ills of the society that have bedevilled our cities and our towns;more importantly, trying to give back to the society.
“Growing up, I played a little bit of football but unfortunately, there was nobody to give me the right push, somebody to broaden my horizon in terms of pursuing a football career. So these put together propelled me to this project today we call Jewels Academy.”
The proprietor further lists some challenges in the course of sustaining the business but remains focused on the vision.
“Somehow it’s been discouraging, trying to put all the resources together. Starting it in the first place, it wasn’t a profit oriented business; but in the course of the business, the people I employed to help me carry out this vision, came up with the idea that this could also be a business.
“The success of every business is returns on investment. For three years, almost four years running, no return on investment…that could be discouraging; but dwelling upon the philosophy of the dream that we are trying to pull out the young people from the streets, anytime I try to say I’m tired of this effort, something reminds me that the future of these children is in your hands. That alone has kept me moving.
“Just for the mere fact that someone is to roll all around me, that the little effort I’m putting in is giving people a direction, people are fulfilling their dreams in all I’m trying to do, that’s enough to make me move on.”
Mr Aaron whose team took a tour of Uyo reveals his plans for the academy going forward.
“My plan going forward is to rediscover our youths, push them out of crime, that’s the principlal thing.
“Secondly, to be sure if we can change the dynamics of Nigerian football. Grassroot football in this country has suddenly disappeared. The days of Principal’s Cup, YSFON and the rest of them, they’re all gone.
“How do we rediscover our grassroot football? How do we make it viable like in Europe and America?
“Putting about 42 players together in one place, feeding them morning, afternoon and evening, running their medicals, is a whole lot of investment; so it takes a man with a whole lot of intent and a large heart to be able to drive this vision.”
“Bestman”, as he is fondly called, also called on other well-meaning private individuals to give back to society in whatever way they can.
“You may not make all the money in life. Some times discover purpose. Purpose is the essence of life.
“We as a matter of fact, for those of us who grace has smiled on, must be able to give back to the society. No one knows who might benefit from it.”
Jewels Academy just ended their one-week training tour of Uyo where they played a string of friendlies. A 2-0 loss to NPFL outfit Akwa United and a slim 2-1 loss to Dakkada FC amidst top performances from Chinedu Obasi’s lads were the highlights of the tour which attracted cheers from those who saw the team’s football artistry.
The club management has also been pleased with the team’s growth and like the proprietor said, it’s a dream that stays alive and destined for better days.