By Blessed Ekene:
A Lagos-based football academy Little Wonders FC is set to receive compensation from the transfer of Wilfred Ndidi to Premier League champions Leicester City, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Ndidi started out playing organised street football for Little Wonders Football Club under the tutelage of coach Victor Atutoya who decided to start an academy at the Military Cantonment in Ikeja, Lagos to help young kids to recover from the trauma of the Ikeja bomb blast of 2002.
Atutoya oversaw Ndidi's development from the age of seven and Little Wonders FC have been battling for a FIFA-mandated 5% training compensation from the deal that took the Super Eagles midfielder from Genk to Leicester in January.
Little Wonders FC trained Ndidi from a tender age until he joined Nath Boys of Lagos from where he transferred to Belgium. But after enlisting the services of London-based lawyer and with the help of Ndidi, Leicester have agreed to pay Little Wonders what is due them, which is estimated at £850,000 (about N425 million).
Speaking exclusively to Complete Sports, a very excited coach Atuyota thanked Ndidi for remembering his roots and revealed the money will a long way in transforming the club and helping more young kids.
"I'm very very happy, in fact I'm the happiest person on earth right now since we reached an agreement with Leicester City, and it’s good
for the club. Wilfred still left some young boys behind and now they're going to benefit from him.
"I thank him for all his efforts in helping us. Now we can afford to buy balls, cones and other training equipment. I appreciate Ndidi for remembering where he came from because it is not all players that make it remember where they are coming from. I pray for him to continue going to higher places."
Referring to Ndidi as his son, Atutoya shared fond memories of the shy young boy who he observed first hand develop from a budding talent to a towering versatile central defender who could also play as a defensive midfielder.
He said: "I started training Wilfred Ndidi from when he was small, when he didn't even know how to wear a boot. He just wanted to play football and gradually he became used to playing with boots.
"We played a match with coach Nduka Ugbade's team at the Ikeja cantonement, our players were very small, especially Ndidi, yet we beat them. Ugbade was so impressed with Ndidi's performance he told me he would like to take him to the Coca-Cola tournament in Owerri. The barracks was like a fence and the boys needed exposure, so I decided it's best for his career to go to the tournament."