How we went from relegation to playing continental football – MFM Director

How we went from relegation to playing continental football – MFM Director

There is no doubt that it’s been an amazing journey since the formation of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club (MFM FC) ten years ago, especially with the added achievement of Confederations of African Football Champions League (CAF CL) qualification.

Within these  years, the Lagos-based football club has won 11 trophies on the local and global stage. Notable amongst the trophy haul is the Church World Cup which the team won in 2014 defeating United Church of Colombia 7-0 in the finals in Goa, India. They are also back to back (2016 and 2017) winners of the Lagos State FA Cup just to mention a few.

ACLSports.com’s Sola Oyeniyi caught up with MFM FC Director of Football, Mr Emmanuel Adeyemi to relive the amazing journey of the team after two seasons of mixed fortunes in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).

Take us on a journey on how MFM FC started.

About 10 years ago, the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Dr D.K Olukoya decided to found some destiny changing programmes for the youths. He brought out 70 points agenda to help the youths discover themselves and help them fulfill their destinies so that they would live a meaningful life with the ultimate aim of making heaven. Among the 70 points agenda was football. Around 2006/2007 he started the Dr D.K Olukoya competition which comprises of every state in Nigeria. Each state would bring their teams to the MFM Camp – Prayer City; where the competition was held. The winner of the competition usually goes home with something, and from there we started having a team. Most times, the team from the headquarters wins the competition and I’m proud to inform you that our (MFM FC) present coach – Fidelis Ilechukwu has always been the coach of the headquarters team.

In 2012, the team gained promotion to this amateur league after getting the slot from Bolowatan FC and from there the Lord has been helping us, we got to the Nigeria National League (NNL), then last year we got to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). Although last year, the results weren’t forthcoming because we weren’t yet experienced then but this year, you can see what the Lord has done for us – we’re to represent Nigeria in CAF.

What was your target in the just concluded NPFL season?

This season, a lot of restructuring took place in the club and one thing about MFM is that we believe in excellence. We must excel. So the management of the team (the coaches and technical crew) held a meeting and decided that we must at least make the top four in the league this season. So we started well, the mistakes we made last season, we reviewed them and corrected them.

What were the mistakes and how did you correct them?

During the first half of last season we were doing fine but as the second half of the season started, we were coming down due to fatigue. So we corrected that.

Also, we ensure that all our players and officials get their salaries as at when due including their bonuses and allowances. The General Overseer ensures that he gives the team everything they need, Dr Olukoya ensures that.

From almost being relegated to playing continental football, all in two years in the NPFL. How was MFM FC able to achieve that?

To the glory of God, God has been helping us. It is the first time in the history of Nigeria that a team that gained promotion the previous year would be representing Nigeria in CAF. It reflects how focused and determined we are and it reflects the vision and mission statement of Dr Olukoya for the youths. He wants them to excel, to live meaningful lives and he wants Nigerian youths to fulfill their destinies. So our boys really appreciated what Daddy did for them and they came out they played and by the grace of God we had the desired result that we wanted.

Two players from MFM FC, Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun were called up to the Super Eagles, how did that make you feel?

Prior to this time, MFM has been producing players for the national team. Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Wilfred Ndidi etc are our players so… Infact we expected NFF to pick more of our players but you know, we have twenty teams in the league. So we were happy and the G.O prayed for them before they went.

How big task was it for you taking over from Mr Godwin Enakhena in the day to day running of the club?

It was a very big task but the Lord has really helped me. Also the management and the coaching crew have been very supportive. My team manager (Sunday Ojieh) and coach (Fidelis Ilechukwu) have been wonderful. I can tell you that every two to three days, we have our own private meetings where we talk about how we want the club to be and God has been helping us. Our players have been dedicated and the coaching crew have been wonderful. It has been fine.

Do you have prior experience in the capacity?

It would also interest you to know that I’m one of the Directors of the League Management Company (LMC) for South West region. Also, at a time I was with the Nigerian team to the All African Games and I did some courses in Sports Management at the Nigerian Institute of Sports. Currently, I’m running some courses in Sports management so I already understand the system and God has been helping me.

What has improved since you took over?

When I took over, we had a meeting with the management, coaches and technical crew. We looked at some amendments we had to make like the remuneration of our players and coaches to increase it. We got another kit sponsor – Cone; to make our jerseys and we renovated the players training camp at Shomolu, Palmgrove. We also ensure that all our players get their allowances.

Apart from that, the General overseer feeds our players. They don’t touch their salaries as all. At the Camp, there’s free food for them in the morning and at night every day, because they train twice a day. Also, we ensure that the welfare of our coaches and other members of the technical crew is been taken care of.

What is your scouting policy and process like?

Now the LMC has stipulated that every team must have a feeder team and an U-15 team. So once those in U-15 graduate to the feeder team, they would from there progress to the main team.

Then we would be bringing back the annual Dr D. K Olukoya football competition because since we got promotion into the NNL it has stopped so we want to bring that back and we would be able to discover some good players from there because some players would be leaving us.

What is the long term goal of MFM FC and what are the plans for the future?

We want MFM FC to be the major platform of football in Nigeria. MFM has always been the standard for everything in Nigeria. We have the first youth church in Nigeria, the G.O rewards members of MFM who graduates with a first class. He started with a car, now it’s one million naira each. We want MFM FC to be the pacesetter in discovering good footballers that would represent Nigeria in the nearest future and we’re already working on having our own stadium but it is a long term project which I wouldn’t want to go into.

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