Nigerian owner of Super Green Football Club (SGFC) Maryland-Washington, Richard Opanuga, has attributed his team’s recent admission into American Soccer League (ASL) to a result of doggedness, hard work and focus. ‘Zico’, as he is fondly called after the Brazilian legendary attacker, said his ultimate dream is the United States (US) elite league, the Major-League Soccer (MLS).
“That we are the first among the nine teams in the ASL is not by accident,” he started and added, “we have won nearly every tournament in Washington and our players are carefully recruited over the years. We have talented young Nigerians here and our aspiration is that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) can tap into our resources to fortify the national teams at all levels.” The former striker, who made his mark with the famous Lagos Baptist Academy, was a founding member of Nigeria Football Association. The NFA is made up of ex-Nigerian footballers resident in the U.S
“I played a key role in forming the NFA and we have a tournament once in a year where we all meet to play and deliberate on how those of us in the Diaspora can help our country in the area of football development. “I mooted the idea of Super Green FC from here and with concerted efforts and investment, we are nearer the goal. I’m happy to be a part of this history-making team. The promotion is reward for our hard work and perseverance. We look forward to competing at a higher level when the new season starts.
“But, beyond that, our players will have the opportunity, through our affiliation as a pro team, to pursue their dream and we will challenge ourselves to ensure we are developing these players. “My first goal is always players’ development so as to enable their careers take them to levels they had dreamed before.”
Zico wishes the Nigeria football authority can tap into their resources. “As an inaugural team to achieve this professional status, we seek more mentoring from big clubs and we are open to partnering with professional sides from Africa, Europe and in Asia. We have been in talk with the Nigerian football authority, and we are fully ready to support our country with our resources, though it has yielded much fruit. Now that we have gained this status as a professional side, I hope they (NFF) will take us more serious,” he added.
The American Soccer League (ASL) is a developmental league that provides American soccer players with professional playing opportunities as well as a direct pathway into the major soccer leagues around the world. The Super Green Football Club will be playing out of Maryland state zoning as a professional side during this season at American Soccer League category and Opanuga declares the team’s readiness to challenge for honours.
The SGFC has won all the titles in the amateur league in the northeast of America before being drafted by the American Professional Soccer league. SGFC’s identity with Nigeria is clearly defined, starting with its name, Super Green, quite similar to Super Eagles, the senior national team of Nigeria.
“We are a wholly Nigerian team and we do not hide that fact. We close ties with 36 Lions Football Club Nigeria and we constantly seek professional ethics to enable us focus in exchanging players across the globe through player exchange during off-season. Through this exchange, we have successfully brought in players from Nigeria and they are doing fine here. We have contributed immensely to the MLS too with some of our players being snapped up by teams there. The ASL has seen our commitment and is happy to have us on board,” the finance expert added.
Opanuga informed that they are open to collaboration with Nigerian clubs and conglomerates. “The MLS is our ultimate goal and we would like to partner with Nigerian clubs and companies to make this a reality. We are open to doing business,” he stated.
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