FORMER Colchester United midfielder Samuel Okafor has been appointed as Kick It Out's new chief executive.

The 42-year-old, who played in the late 1990s for the U's, has taken over from Tony Burnett in the role with the anti-discrimination group.

Okafor said: “As a former footballer, Kick It Out’s commitment to eradicating discrimination and making football a sport where everyone feels they belong connects deeply with my passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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“The opportunity to contribute to creating a more equitable and welcoming environment across football is incredibly motivating.

"I look forward to starting the role and working with the team to drive the organisation forward.”

Nigeria-born Okafor had a three-year scholarship at Colchester.

He made his only Football League appearance for the U's, at the end of the first year of his three-year scholarship at Layer Road.


It came when Okafor appeared as a half-time substitute for David Gregory in Colchester's 2-1 defeat at Blackpool on May 8, 1999.

During his time at Colchester, he went out on loan to Dover Athletic.

After being released by the U's, he played for the likes of Bromley, Enfield and Hampton and Richmond, before embarking on a successful career in the City of London.

Okafor joins Kick It Out from the banking industry, where he has held key leadership roles, most recently as an executive director at Coutts.

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Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Samuel as our new CEO.

"His background as a footballer and his subsequent business career in banking will bring a rich depth and breadth of leadership experience to Kick It Out.

“We are excited to have him lead the next stage of our journey.

“The board would like to thank outgoing CEO Tony Burnett for his outstanding leadership.

"The fact that we had a vast array of outstanding and diverse candidates apply for this position is a testament to the power of Tony’s honest, humble, and visible leadership.”