Former Nigerian International, Benedict Akwuegbu has revealed that his efforts in developing the game at the grassroots gain more attention when he becomes the President of NFF.
In a chat with exclusivenews.com.ng, the former Heartland assistant general manager said his impact in game has been unprecedented, and will gain more attention when he eventually becomes the NFF President.
Akwuegbu was a member of Golden Eaglets to U-17 World Cup Final in 1989 hosted by Scotland. He also played for the U-20 national side.
2000, his success in Austria made him to join the Africa Cup of Nations tournament where he played his first international game against Tunisia. With his progress in the team he was involved in the 2002 World Cup Qualifier and scored two goals in the process, he was selected to the 2002 World Cup Final in Japan/Korea. He played the final group match against England at the World Cup.
Akwuegbu started his career at the age of 15 at St. Patrick Malumba College Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria before moving to French outfit RC Lens at the age of 17. He spent five years in Belgium with KRC Harelbeke, KSV Waregem, KVK Tienen. Austrian side Grazer AK signed him after the 1998 season.
Grazer AK won the Austrian Cup and Austrian Supercup in 2000 and 2002 and the league title in 2004 with his good performance. He won the Best Foreign Player and nicknamed “Austrian Bomber” by the press.
He played in 20 European games as he scored 12 including some remarkable goals. He attracted several Bundesliga clubs like Hamburger SV and 1. FC Kaiserslautern. However Grazer AK refused the offer from Kaiserslautern.
In April 2007, Akwuegbu was signed by Qingdao Jonoon. He scored his first goal for Qingdao on 13 May 2007, an 84-minute equalizer in 3–2 lose away at Shanghai Schenhua.
Akwuegbu was one of the most consistent player in the Qingdao squad. He was a vital part in Qingdao attack throughout the campaign and notched six goals in 20 games. Akwuegbu had an excellent season and was favorite of Qingdao Janoon fans.
He later joined Basingstoke Town in the Conference South. He scored his first goal for the Dragons against Dorchester Town on 5 April 2010 and left the club at the end of the season.
On returning home, he became the Assistant Technical Director of Heartland FC of Owerri,
Mighty Jets of Jos Technical Director before managing
He founded Akwuegbu United of Owerri in 2003. A team that created waves in the Federation cup by beating teams like Wikki Tourists to cruise into the second round of the tournament.
In 2012, he founded the Mbaise Lions that played in the finals of the that year’s Imo State FA Cup. In 2019, he initiated the Legend games and Ben Akwuegbu kwuegbu unity cup in Jos.
“You can see with all these, you can see that I am a grassroots man, which is exactly where my emphasis will be when I become the NFF President. The grassroot is the fulcrum of every country’s football development. We cannot neglect it for any other thing,” he said.