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West Ham sign first African partnership with Nigerian club

By The Rainbow
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English Premier League club West Ham have announced an agreement with Nigerian side FC Ifeanyi Ubah to become their first African partner.

Based in Nnewi, Anambra State, and currently competing in Nigeria’s top-flight league, FC Ifeanyi Ubah are to become the Hammers’ Official Nigerian Football Club Partner, the English club announced.

The two clubs will work on a number of projects – led by FC Ifeanyi Ubah – from coaching initiatives to establishing grass roots football programmes in Nigeria, all with a view to improving the standard of football across the region.

“This ground-breaking partnership serves to further emphasize our growing international profile, bringing the famous West Ham United name to Africa for the first time in a partnership context,” West Ham United Vice-Chairman Baroness Brady said.

“The popularity of Premier League football in West Africa has been well documented and it is testament to the Club’s success, on and off the pitch, that we are now considered one of the most high profile and attractive clubs in the region.

“We are looking forward to working alongside FC Ifeanyi Ubah and building a strong legacy in Nigerian football inspired by West Ham United.”

Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, owner of FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas, believes the partnership will have a positive impact on his club – both on and off the pitch.

“We are extremely excited to have signed a partnership with West Ham United and are excited by the prospect of what we can achieve together,” West Ham quotes him as saying.

“This is going to be a massive turnaround for FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Nigerian football and African football by extension.

“West Ham were our first choice of all of the Premier League clubs given the club’s rich history, unrivalled reputation for developing talent which we strongly believe will help boost the FC Ifeanyi Ubah Academy and of course, the fantastic new stadium in Stratford.

“Together with West Ham’s continued success on the field, this is a valuable proposition for our own club’s learning and evolution.”

FC Ifeanyi Ubah only came into existence in June 2015 following its takeover of Gabros International FC and their Nigerian top-tier status.

West Ham have existing African ties, with a number of the continent’s players in their ranks in recent years.

They include Nigerian trio Victor Moses, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Obinna.

Current members of West Ham’s squad include Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyat√©, Diafra Sakho, Ghana winger Andre Ayew and Algeria international Sofiane Feghouli.

(BBC Sports)