“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question was and is still being asked in 98% of Nigerian homes and when asked at no point any child said he wanted to be a footballer. We all said either a doctor, engineer or lawyer but the truth is, for most of us our passion hasn’t been discovered yet. When that passion was discovered, no matter what our parents did all we could think about was football. Making it as a footballer is one of the most difficult career parts on earth. In this blog space, I am going to be writing about the life of a Nigerian footballer.
We live in a country where we are encouraged to try different things as children, we were acted in plays, we sang, played drums, and even participated in sports especially the track and field event. My specialty was in sprinting and that was when I knew that sport was my “calling” in life. I was the fastest short-distance runner in my school and I always looked forward to the school’s annual inter-house sports. I can still remember the first time I ran the 100m, I had qualified to represent my house and in the main event, my sister came to watch me race, I was super pumped. At the sound of the whistle, all I could remember was running and feeling the rush of the wind on my face with the crowd cheering me on and screaming my name. the feeling I had at that point when everyone came to surround me was something my little mind county fathom at the time but I loved it, I loved winning, I loved seeing people happy because of what I had done and that birthed my love for sports, that was the foundation upon which my love for football as born. In me I knew this is it, this is the feeling I want to have. And that was how it all began.
I grew in the “hood”, a one-room apartment with my family and lots of children like me. I was considered fat but was known for my pace. I never let my size stop me from doing what other kids did. If they flipped I flipped, I was deployed as a defender most of the time because of my size. I wasn’t the best player in the street but I was determined to play because I loved football. One time we had the match between two groups of kids in the street, I was the last person to be picked and I was the defender but I loved it. I can’t remember if we won or not but I can remember coming home happy. Football slowly became the one thing I was not good at but was not ready to stop but keep learning.
From a little boy in the street who wasn’t considered to be good, I’ve played for a couple of amateur sides who loved having me around. As we embark on this journey together, you’ll be able to see my journey and lots of the challenges many Nigerian aspiring footballers go true to make it to the top and how many more whose dreams have been thrown down the drain.