Our club is more transparent and exposed – Abayomi Ogunjimi (Exclusive Photos)
Abayomi Ogunjimi, popularly known as Bonfrere Jo, has been grinding with the Nigerian sports, especially football, for years. He pitched his tent with the Nigerian supporters’ club, where he had served in various capacities till now. Now the national president of the Authentic Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club, METRONEWSNG crew led by VICTOR OJELABI was able to have a chat with him at the new headquarter of the club located at No. 96, Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, Lagos. Excerpts…
Can we meet you?
I’m the national president of the Authentic Nigeria Football Supporters Club. My name is Abayomi Ogunjimi, popularly known as Bonfre.
How long have you been supporting the team?
For more than two decades now, I have been in football and sports in general, supporting Nigeria. I started as an effigy and later became a youth chairman, then social secretary and later the first vice chairman of the then supporters’ club.
What is your driving force to keep supporting Nigerian team?
For me to be doing this for some years now, it simply means I have passion in what I do. As a child, I found myself always comfortable in sporting terrain. I also feel that if I could succeed as mascot and being teased or beaten by fans because I was an effigy, it showed me that I could risk anything for myself, my country and for the sport in general.
What is Authentic Nigeria Football Supporters Club all about?
ANFSC is a digital supporters’ club with a vision to eradicate violence the local league; putting an end to violence and rancour during matches in various centres. It works on how we can let Nigerian youths know the importance of supporters’ club at the national level from the U17 to the Super Eagles, males and females. To also empower talented Nigerians with skills in playing instruments by encouraging them to be members. It is also established to be at par with international standard on rules and ethics guiding supporters’ club.
What separates ANFSC and the former club you belonged to?
I can’t say much because I don’t like speaking about my contemporaries. However, ours is more transparent, our method of governance is totally different and our activities are not shrouded in secrecy. ANFSC is more digitalised and exposed. It is a club where everyone has a voice and we are all equal.
So far what are the achievements recorded by ANFSC?
We were at the 2019 Nations Cup in Egypt. It was fantastic! We were present from day one to the third place Nigerian team found itself. It was this same ANFSC in Egypt to support the U23 that was playing qualifying series for the Olympics. We have also been in Singapore and cheered the Super Eagles to force Brazil to a draw. The club also have the royal endorsement of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II as the grand patron. Hon. Kunle Soname, the CEO of Bet9ja is also our patron and has equally endorsed ANFSC just as numerous local and international Nigerian players have.
Also, Sen. Obinna Ogba, chairman, House Committee on Sports in the Nigerian Senate, has also endorsed ANFSC.
The award winning supporters club by various international and local journalists in Nigeria is well organised and quiet popular. And we were able to achieve all these within one year.
What the club has achieved so far is as result of selfless contributions of the club’s members, who worked tirelessly, using their own money to fund the activities of the club.
I hereby use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians and sports lovers to come to our aid and assist the brand to greater heights. Kindly note that within a year, we now have our club secretariat here in Lagos, so with the backing of governments, corporate bodies and private individuals, I believe we can achieve more.
Do you face challenges as a club?
There are many challenges a supporters club can face; from lack of dedicated transportation to matches, acquisition of instruments and payment of instrumentalists. For instance, I had to sell my properties to fund our trip to Egypt. In addition to all these, easy facilitation of trips and other logistics are also very important.
Sometimes, we get bullied and attacked by opposing radical fans, but because of our passion, we need to keep going.
How can one be a member of this club?
Simply by contacting us through our social media platforms; our numbers are there. You can also be a member by picking up the form, only that you must be a good citizen of this country with no criminal records. Send us mail on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and all other requirements would be sent to you.