Meet the Nigerian living the Champions League dream


Nigeria’s Kenneth Kerewi (back row, second from right) has fulfilled his dreams in the South Pacific

African footballers play all over the world, with only the elite few making it into the top leagues of Europe.

As part of this year’s BBC African Footballer of the Year award, BBC Sport scoured the world to find some of the continent’s most adventurous travellers.

KENNETH KEREWI – Nigeria and Kiwi FC (Samoa)

In his early thirties, Kenneth Kerewi had an unfulfilled dream – to play Champions League football.

Playing semi-professionally in Nigeria and working for a local church, the intrepid Nigerian considered distance to be no barrier so travelled nearly 20,000 kilometres to get to the top of his world.

Having studied the globe for somewhere to achieve his goal, Kerewi eventually found an opening in Samoa.

“The whole thing started with my desire to play in a continental Champions League but the only place open for such a chance was the Oceania Champions League,” the 35-year-old told BBC Sport.

“Going through the clubs playing, I found Kiwi FC from Samoa as one of the participating teams. So I got in talks with the Kiwi FC president who was keen on wanting foreign players to come and play.”

Kenneth Kerewi has travelled nearly 20,000 kilometres to play Champions League football

The president would not pay for Kerewi’s flight – meaning the Nigerian missed Kiwi FC’s 2016 Champions League campaign but he arrived in June 2016 nonetheless, after finally sourcing some funds.

Earlier this year, Kerewi’s dreams came true – at the unheralded Loto-Tonga Soka Centre in Tonga.

It wasn’t for Kiwi FC but while on loan with Utulei Youth, a team in American Samoa whose Oceania Champions League qualifier against Lupe Ole Soaga attracted just 100 spectators.

Nonetheless, Kerewi was living the dream – scoring twice