Amobi Okoye gives back to Nigeria

Pro football players are always getting into trouble with the law. At least that's how it seems. Just take Okoye a look at the typical NFL player's speed dial: 1. Lawyer; 2. Attorney; 3. Counsel; 4. Bail bondsman. 

That's why it's so refreshing to read about the good guys — and there are more good guys in the NFL than bad guys, no matter what you might read in the police blotter. Take Amobi Okoye, for example. The 21-year-old Houston Texans defensive end is giving back to his motherland, Nigeria, in a big way.

He will take a short break from working out at Reliant Stadium to return to Nigeria. Traveling with fellow NFL players, including Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha, the New York Giants’ Osi Umenyiora and Chicago’s Tommie Harris, Okoye will embark on another nine-day mission funded mostly by himself.

He will hand out 20 more C.A.T.E. (Changing Africa Through Education) scholarships to 10 girls and 10 boys heading to universities in Nigeria. The players also will conduct two football camps. [Link]

It's a great program, even if one boy got slapped by his girlfriend for wearing a T-shirt that said "I LOVE CATE."

The six doctors and seven nurses traveling with the group will offer free clinics to Nigerians in need, and Okoye will present his plans for his newest project — a type of prep school that would possibly be located in the capital city of Abuja.

“We want to build an academy,” Okoye said. “It’s an academy that would excel in sports and academics, with football, soccer and tennis being the major sports of concentration. It would also teach the other Olympic sports. [Link]

The academy may help Nigeria produce many more NFL players whose names Americans can't pronounce. As's Len Pasquarelli pointed out a few years ago, "Of all the emerging African countries, it is Nigeria, it seems, that is foremost in emerging as a hothouse for developing athletes capable of performing at the NFL level."

Amobi Okoye, Nnamdi Asomugha, Osi Umenyiora, Adewale Ogunleye, Victor Adeyanju … if you can say those names quickly 20 times, then you'd better contact Fox Sports. They're looking for a good NFL announcer.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Theresa Chukwuma says:

    Amobi, you have been a great inspiration to many kids home and abroad. You have set a standard for others to follow. May the good Lord continue to give you the strength and wisdom to do what you do. I hope your trip to Nigeria was a success. Good luck

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