Photograph — WorldRemmit.

Chinasa Mandy Ukandu, a Nigerian youth football coach, who emerged as the first female winner of Future Stars Competition in 2019, has flown to London for a personalised training session with Arsenal Football Development coaches. Online money transfer company, WorldRemit, and Arsenal Football Club welcomed the winners of the 2019 Future Stars competition to London.

Sponsored by WorldRemit, Chinasa Mandy Ukandu from Nigeria is one of two winners who won an all-expenses-paid trip to London to take part in a personalised training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches. The weeklong programme is designed to help Future Stars coaches to assist the children they coach to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Chinasa coaches boys and girls between the ages of 5 to 16. Together with her friends, she helps provide young people with an opportunity to develop football and life skills at Help the Talent Academy in Lagos State. She completed phase three of the Premier Skills Coach Educators Course (an initiative by the English Premier League and British Council) in 2015.

On arrival in London, Chinasa enjoyed a week of scheduled activities which include attending the Arsenal Vs Manchester City football game, an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the renowned Emirates Stadium, personalised theory coaching sessions with Arsenal Football Development Coaches followed by a practical session where they had the opportunity to lead a coaching session with children from Arsenal in the Community.

The winners also spent a day in the WR offices meeting staff and WorldRemit co-founder, Catherine Wines.

“I can never forget how the WorldRemit and Arsenal Future Stars programme made me feel,” reads a statement by Chinasa. “ I have been influenced, encouraged and edified so I am ready to duplicate this attitude to others.” She further commented.

Also, Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said, “At WorldRemit, we are inspired every day by our customers, who work hard to send money home to support their communities.”

“Through our partnership with Arsenal and the Future Stars programme, we are delighted to celebrate the stories of inspiring individuals such as Chinasa who use sport to make a difference to the lives of the young people they train.”

Also, Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development said, “Through our programmes in London and across the globe, our Football Development coaches are dedicated to helping set young players up for success both on and off the pitch.”

“The Future Stars winners’ work within their communities shows just how powerful football can be and the importance of promoting diversity within the sport.” He stated. 

“We hope this experience will support Chinasa to amplify her contributions to grassroots football in Nigeria even further,” he added.

About the Future Stars Programme

Chinasa was among eight finalists, four men and four women, who were selected by a panel of judges from WorldRemit and Arsenal Football Development for their commitment to using football to empower young people to benefit their communities. Almost 40,000 votes were cast in less than three weeks. Chinasa received the highest number of votes among the female finalists, making her the first-ever female to win the competition.

The Future Stars programme was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Applications to the Future Stars programme were judged on the following criteria by a panel of judges from WorldRemit and Arsenal Football Club.

  •       The commitment of the coach to improving the lives of their community
  •       The impact the coach has had on young people within their community
  •       The strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return home if they win the programme

Chinasa is the chairperson of Youths Sports Initiative (YSI), an NGO which aims to create opportunities for children and young people through physical education and community sports. She has gone beyond gender limitations and has succeeded in making the world her own pitch. At age 14, she was selected by the British Council in a program called “Dream Teams” and was trained as one of its leaders. She went on to represent Nigeria in the International Young Leaders Conference held in England in 2005. 

About WorldRemit

Leading digital money transfer company, WorldRemit has disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players, such as Western Union, by taking international money transfers online – making them more convenient, safer, faster and lower-cost. It currently sends money from over 50 countries to recipients in over 150 countries across the world. It offers its services and operate in 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide and has employed over 800 people worldwide.

On the sending side, WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of payout options to recipients including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – early investors in Facebook, Netflix and Slack – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, UK with a global presence including offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

About Arsenal Football Club

Arsenal Football Club was born when a group of workers at Dial Square armaments factory in Woolwich – notably, exiled Scotsman David Danskin and Jack Humble – decided to form a football team to break the monotony of factory life.

After Dial Square team played its first match against Eastern Wanderers in 1886, Arsenal has gone on to become one of London’s most successful football clubs. It is also one of the most famous names in modern football with millions of passionate followers worldwide.

Steeped in history and tradition, Arsenal Football Club has thrived on a pioneering and innovative spirit that has existed throughout its 134 years in existence. While society and football may have changed during this time, Arsenal has always served to create a sense of community for people in north London, across the UK and around the world.

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