It’s the biggest day of my life – Nigerian drafted into Canadian Football League on his graduation day
There are two reasons why May 7, 2017, was a day Kaetochuku (Kay) Okafor will never forget.
The 24-year-old walked across the stage to get his business administration degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and later in the day he was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
“It’s the biggest day of my life so far to be honest,” said Okafor. “To graduate from university and get drafted was amazing. And to have my dad here for it was the best part of everything.”
Okafor left his home in Enugu, Nigeria, six years ago at the age of 18. He left behind his mother, father, 3 sisters and a brother. Spotting his father in the crowd at graduation was the first time Okafor had seen a member of his immediate family since 2011.
“I actually didn’t know if he was going to make it because his flight got cancelled the day before, so we had to get him on a flight to Fredericton instead of Halifax on the morning of my graduation,” said Okafor.
Okafor is known for both his physical strength and strong mentoring skills. He turned a lot of heads at the CFL combine this spring. That’s where pro prospects are put through a series of strength and conditioning tests. Okafor bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times.
But there’s more to Okafor than brute strength. “He was the captain of our football team and he mentored a lot of young players on our team,” said Gary Waterman, head coach of the St. FX football team. “That aspect was so important.
Even though his physical play for us was great, the other elements he brought to the table was just as great for our program.” Only his father was able to make it to his graduation. Okafor will be leaving for Hamilton’s training camp next week. He’s already planning a return trip to Nigeria following the CFL season in time for Christmas.