Nigerian soccer impresario Femi didn’t always have as good a life as he has now. Olufemi was born in Nigeria, and was sent by his agent to play for one of South Africa’s big-name teams: Mighty Stars in Limpopo. This was the start of his international career, which should have gone on to bring him fame and fortune. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The opportunity was not what he had envisaged and his career came to a sudden and devastating end. Deserted and hopeless, Femi headed to Pretoria to play for a small team in Laudium. Disaster struck yet again however, when, after a short time, he got a permanent severe injury and could not play anymore.
“I could have easily got involved in drugs to make quick bucks. Everything, and I mean everything, went against me and I was on my own. To keep going I first worked as a hair-salon recruiter; I wandered the streets of central Pretoria recruiting people to come to our salon. I then sold jewelry and slippers.”
His attempts to explore entrepreneurship as a path in life just didn’t work for him. All he wanted to do was to see, touch, breathe and live football. Bothered by a high number of young men both locally and from various African countries wandering the streets, Femi felt compelled to intervene. To do something that would give these young men a new perspective on life – and so Fembem Stars Football Club was born. Since then Femi has built up the 30-strong team from young men drawn from all over Africa.
“Sport is traditionally an effective compound in promoting unity. My plan was to keep these young men off the streets, give them necessary life skills – basically to re-channel them towards positive things in life."
Fembem Stars FC has seen great success over the years, with most of its team members changing their lives for the better.
“I have members who have had opportunities to enroll at universities and who are doing exceptionally well. One of my former players – a South Africa boy named Thabiso Elliot – is currently playing for a team in New Zealand. I’m also currently sealing deals with a couple of well-established teams thriving in the Vodacom league, who are interested in my boys.”
Femi’s team is registered under the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) as “Fembem Sports House”. Femi is currently exploring other sporting avenues to appeal to young kids. “My plan is to establish a sports academy that will produce the best of Africa’s future stars!”