MFM: Prayer Warriors prepare to set NPFL on fire

 Interesting

Inspirational midfielder, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (arrowed), and the MFM squad training. Inset: Enakhena

 MFM squad training. Inset: Enakhena

Lagos residents’ long wait to watch a team from their state compete in Nigeria’s topflight league is akin to the old adage, “you wait ages for a bus and two come at once.”

Truly, for 22 years, football-crazy Lagos fans were deprived of Premier League football. Even the resuscitation of the state’s darling team Stationery Stores didn’t help matters. But when it was time for Lagos to enjoy football in the elite league, it was two clubs: Mountain of Fire and Miracles FC and Ikorodu United, which achieved the feat this season.

But it is MFM that actually broke the 22-year-jinx, having been the first of the two, to gain promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Though the club was formed in 2007 by the church’s General Overseer, Dr. D.K. Olukoya, MFM acquired a slot to play in the professional ranks in unusual circumstances.

Toyin Gafar, a Muslim and owner of Bolowotan FC, offered his club’s slot in the Nigeria National Division One League to MFM — then playing in the Amateur Division One League — for free in 2013.

Interestingly, Gafar snubbed a N16m-offer from a state for the club, preferring to hand it over to a church.

“Football is not about religion. I could have given it to a Muslim body but what if my dream dies? I only told them (MFM) that if they treat the boys well, they will gain promotion in three years,” Gafar said.

“I feel delighted with their promotion; I’ve always been with the team and will always be ready to assist them. Some of the players are from Bolowotan and seeing them progress makes me happy.”

Chairman of MFM FC, Godwin Enakhena, said, “Gafar called me one Sunday morning and told me he wanted to give his club to MFM and I told him we should meet on Monday since I was in church. He insisted on seeing me that day and he came to meet in the church.

“I took him to my pastor and he narrated how he was in a trance and that God told him to give his team to MFM because the church will be able to take care of the club. He said he rejected an offer from a state because he wanted to follow his mind.”

Two years later, the club, against all odds, sealed a spot in the NPFL, becoming the first club owned by a church to compete at that level in Nigerian football.

It was a joint effort by the entire church to ensure that their club gained promotion. For instance, during away games, Regional General Overseers and other ministers played major roles in ensuring the wellbeing of the players and officials.

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