AN ANDOVER councillor who runs a community football club is giving up competitive coaching in favour of charity training sessions aimed at refugees and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Cllr Nicholas Asamoah, who represents Millway ward as an independent councillor on Andover Town Council, runs Ra Football Club.

The father-of-two explained that Ra is the Egyptian sun god, and stands for energy, growth and happiness.

“I wanted to give access to people who may not know where to start,” he said.

“Football is no longer a poor child’s game. My club was the cheapest in Andover, and I did that purposely.

“But we’re no longer going to have a team to go and play a match every Sunday. Instead I am going to be focussing on offering free training.”

Cllr Asamoah’s club has already been very community-minded, taking part in litter-picks, collecting for the Andover foodbank, and funding a twin team - also part of the same club - in Ghana, where his family is from.

He is now working with the borough council and local schools to begin the process of identifying young people who could benefit from being referred to his new coaching sessions, and to secure training space.

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In particular, he hopes to be able to give free sessions to Afghan and Ukrainian refugee children, aged eight and over.

Cllr Asamoah has links with various other football clubs in Andover, and says he plans to offer free sessions for the young people, before using those contacts to pass them onto the club which best suits them.

Cllr Asamoah was raised in north London, and began his career in retail, working his way up to a store manager, and running several top store branches around London. He was a good football player and says he now wants to help other people discover their passion for the sport.

“I have always loved it, and if I’m not watching it I’m playing it! I just love to see kids enjoying it and that’s why I now want to give other children an opportunity. Some coaches just want to win, but it's the ones who work as a team that do better.”

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