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Mike Fola Dokunmu | CEO & Director of Sports Midfield Agency
Fola Dokunmu is based in South Africa and has over 24 years experience in the soccer industry first as a player, then in coaching, talent identification, sports management and branding for athletes, also in sports organizations and corporate looking to invest in sports and sponsorships.
My Definition Of Success | Success to me, is when at the end of it all one looks back and you are able to smile with satisfaction knowing so much had happened, yet so much had been achieved within a time period that has in fact brought about positive transformation to one’s life and career.
I Am Driven By | I am driven by passion in my work. The passion to make things happen. The passion to coach, managing football, identifying exceptional football talents and match analysis. Furthermore, I am driven by the passion to plan, strategize and structure the challenge of seeing it all coming together successfully.
My Highlights | I am privileged and honored to have many highlights that have made me most proud in my life and career. Starting with when I first arrived in South Africa about 15 years ago, after a job promised to me prior to my arrival fell through due to unforeseen sale transfer/change of club ownership… Instead I approached another local Club for a coaching position and was told there was no vacancy but I didn’t turn to walk away, rather I managed to convince the club Director to try me out with one of their youth teams for a month without pay and the club can decide on my faith thereafter. The Club took the bait by starting me up the same day to assist one of their youth coaches and in my first week of resuming in a assisting position I was made the head coach for that very age-group and to my utmost surprise the club paid me in full for that very month.
I opted to title the many highlights that have made me proud “Connecting Dreams”… reason for such title is the fact that most of my proud moments had to do with helping sports athletes, forming and shaping their football careers. Scouting and identifying such hidden talents from community backyards then exposing them to professional academies, local pro clubs, most importantly to Europe, USA & Canada not limited to full scholarships with top US schools & colleges for the exceptional youngsters. Another highlights would be the discovery, exposure and empowerment of South African women footballers such as Portia Modise, Veronica Phewa, Rose Jijana, Lena Mosebo, Noko Matlou & Janine Van Wyk to mention a few that I was able to take to Europe & US to secure professional contracts.
Dineo Mmutle – My very first full scholarship recipient to America, graduated with honors. Another memorable highlight in 2009 was the rare opportunity to bring the first Asian and Japanese professional football player, Norikazu Murakami to play his trade in the SA PSL making him the first in South Africa and the African continent.
The Difference Between Good And Great | People who are good at what they do will seldom do it for free and lack enough passion to do extra. Whereas people who are great at what they do will do it for free if they have to and possess the passion to go the extra mile.
A Key Talent | I am analytical, strategic, good eye for outstanding talents and tactical. One needs to have a natural love for what he/she does alongside educational researches, courses and lots of networking. During one’s early career stages and over the years, it helps to empower oneself with as much professional courses as possible. Be prepared to do what you do for almost nothing, even for nothing if you can. Apply for internships with reputable establishments where possible, learn as much as you can whilst you can in the organization and be very true to your work. Attend clinics/workshops, refresher courses, conferences and network. Networking is key.
The Characteristics Of Success | I believe sports were always fun for me personally, so it made it natural just by being myself. Trying to realize a self-dream lead me to believe it’s in me to give such huge hope to others, especially previously disadvantaged yet exceptional talents in football. I enjoy people, I am pro-active, systematic, a workaholic by nature, quite adaptable and very dogmatic at what I do. I am approachable, friendly and eager to assist others where I possibly can; need I say I love travelling. Overall, having the virtues of patience, tolerance, kindness, compassion and the ability to work with others has helped me to achieve so much.
Principles I Live By | Principles and values I believe one needs to live by are integrity, honesty, sincerity, commitment, professionalism and good work ethic with good moral obligations.
Critical Skills I Develop | The ability to listen, communication, man management, organization and tactical skills.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Life is a journey of ups and downs, good and bad times, so is owning or running a business. There will be times one will feel like giving up and that is when one’s true character is tested, then you have to believe you can find a way and the strength to get up and make it work again.
Dealing With Doubt | Fear or negativity and self-doubt keep one from other opportunities. Think positive always, pray with faith, ask for divine intervention, believe that things happen for a reason and for an eventual good cause. You must be strong enough to keep in mind that no condition is permanent. Greatness of the mind is to decide where you would rather be. It cannot be refuted, doubted, or destroyed. Destiny is greatness.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | To be remembered for the work I have done in South African womens football. In exposing our very best and talented female players to professional football in Europe and the USA i.e. Portia Modise, Veronica Phewa, Noko Matlou, Janine Van Wyk, Lena Mosebo, Rose Jijana to name a few. As well as the ones I was able to secure full football & education scholarships for .i.e. Dineo Mmutle etc. I want to positively impacted South African football fraternity and Africa. I would also love to leave behind a very successful sustainable and professional football structure.
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