A MAN who never played higher then the Portugese third division is suing the Baptist church for $AU14.6 million - claiming it ruined his chances of playing for Manchester United.
The London Evening Standard reported that Arquimedes Nganga accused religious leaders of decieving him into following false beliefs, causing him physical harm and destroying his life.
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Nganga quit playing football at the age of 25 when he converted to the Baptist faith and despite never earning more than $AU297 a month playing in Portugal, claims he was stripped of his potential to earn $AU29,200 a week.
"I could definitely have had a long career in the Premiership," Nganga said.
"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."
Nganga spent 19 years as a 'fervent evangelist' after converting in 1989 and devoted his life to the bible and abstaining from sex.
He is now suing the leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britian, who, he says "conspired to defraud me of my finances, time and my life".
Nganga filed papers in the high court accusing the church of destroying his social life, causing him 'psychological harm' and defrauding him of money through compulsory donations.
He blames the church leaders for physical assaults suffered at the hands of those he was trying to convert.
"They got upset and reacted violently after being told that they were sinners. I was slapped and punched, and kicked in my left knee, breaking its cartilage."
The church said last week that it would vigorously contest the claim. As well as suing the British arm, Mr Nganga has begun a legal battle with the US-based Baptist World Alliance and has written a book, The Millenary Fraud.