Former Evangelist sues church for preventing him playing for Man United

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A retired semi-professional footballer is suing the Baptist church for £10 million, claiming he could have played for Manchester United had he not become a "fervent evangelist".

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46-year-old Arquimedes Nganga, who currently lives in London, used to play for a third division side in his native Portugal.

He quit the sport at the age of 25 to devote his life to the Baptist Church.

Nganga believes he could have earned £20,000 a week playing for United, despite never making more than £200 a month playing semi-professionally.

Now he is suing the leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, who, he says, "conspired to defraud me of my finances, time and my life".

"I could definitely have had a long career in the Premiership," Nganga told the London Evening Standard.

"I see many players playing today who I am not inferior to – and perhaps even better than. Most midfielders are either defensive or attacking but I was both. I had something new."

In papers filed in the High Court, he accuses the church of destroying his social life, causing him "psychological harm" and defrauding him of money through compulsory donations.

The church said it will vigorously contest the claim.

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