Etim’s dream of playing professional football: His life and what others should do

Lavender Odinaka Ekweremadu

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Etim Asuquo is a Nigerian footballer who has declared his interest and determination to make the national U-20 team with the aim of helping the Flying Eagles win a historic first-ever FIFA World Youth Championship.

I have known Etim Asuquo for a very long time right from our secondary ‘school’ days, sure it’s called ‘college’ over here at Ireland. Just for the record, I’m the first to interview him on questions like him from an amateur level as he has not done this before.

I said to him “Let’s get started with this work” and he said ‘okay’.

I gave him a warm welcome by introducing myself as if it was a live interview, I started by saying “Hello good evening Mr Asuquo. My name is Odinaka Ekweremadu and I would be asking you some questions today and hope you excited”.

He replied saying “Yes I’m excited”, but on a tone of being on the spot… I asked him can you please introduce himself. He went on to say, “My name is Etim Asuquo, I’m from Nigeria”.

I cut him off to ask the question again as the Wi-Fi connection was not on our side. He repeated “My name is Etim Asuquo, I’m from Nigeria and I’m hoping to go professional in football as I’m still an amateur player.

I briefly went on to ask him why he started playing football and at what age and why he choose to venture in playing football now as a profession, he replied saying “I started playing football at a young age right from when I was young and got to play in the school (secondary school) team

He went more in-depth to explain saying “It’s a passion and that my parents had said they would support my decision on whatever I wanted after I completed my degree successfully

I had to cut off the serious conversation and give him a bit of throwback on fun times in secondary school where we used paper and calotype to make a ball, that made it burst into laughter, his reply was “Yeah, it was good at the time, yeah it was really good at the time, but it’s not something I would like to do again because we outgrow everything in life, but at that time it was really nice because I played with my friends”.

I watched him play for the school team, but not much because we were in different classes and had different class times, so I wanted him to explain more about that, he explained saying “First, being in the school team for me was more on merit than being friends with the coach, because I was in a team with most of my seniors so I feel it was based on merit after successfully passing the trials

I was amazed at his story and experience, as he shared on how the school coach and his friends had encouraged him to play what he loved most.

However, he went on to say, I remember at the point, they were other good players who couldn’t make the team until our seniors at school had graduated from school

There was an inter-school competition and our school had gone to the finals, where the match was played in the National stadium in Abuja, Nigeria, he was filled with joy and that to me that “Winning the MVP award was a nice one because it was my last tournament at the time and everyone on the team wanted to win it as well” he also went on to say winning the MVP award was a plus for him as a lot of people didn’t believe in him”.

In 2015 Mr Asuquo was given another award.

In 2016, he went to the UK to further his education. After he had completed his education, he decided to have a go on the LA Galaxy trial, he says that “Out of 900 players that enrolled only 10 players were selected and I was among the 10 players that were selected”.

Mr Asuquo expressed that “He was nervous when the whole trial started and says that ‘Football speaks on language’, but playing football was never the problem but playing with new players was much harder because you would have to understand the chemistry and that brought his confidence down”.

He later went to the United States of America where the trial came to an end when the club needed only two players and he wasn’t picked, that must have been a disappointment after coming this far.

He went further to explain say that “It wasn’t a disappointment for me, but an experienced as he says that the calibre of players were people who had played in places like Ajax academy, players from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and so on

Sounds like he was disappointed, but I guess he must stand his ground. He expressed himself by saying “Physiologically the possibility of outshining other players was tough as he was nervous at the time and lost confidence”

I still pressured to know why he still wasn’t chosen as I have watched him the player and I can say he is a great player the world hasn’t seen yet. He was most courageous to say that “I’m still going to try, I will keep trying because you never know till your try as his parents promised to support him as far as he can go and he would not give up because of one failure in his trails

Asuquo explained that “When any other opportunity comes up he would still go for it and learn from what had previously happened as to why he wasn’t chosen the last time

In Nigeria, he trains under the watch of the Nigerian Under 20 coach and trains with the Nigerian super eagles to gain more experience.

He angrily expressed himself as too why his kind of player would struggle to find a place in the football world, he says that “A scout would come and then the next thing would be that the coaches would have a turnaround of the players due to politics, and make money off them, in the end, ruin their dreams”.

He wrapped this conversation it to say that “There are so many talents in Nigeria but the coaches needed to change their mentality, but if anyone ever gets the opportunity to play football he would advise you do it internationally”.

 Asuquo finally advise to those who aspire to play football just like himself is “The key to making your dream come through is to have a good agent because with that you would gain more opportunity internationally due to connections from the agent

Etim training with Swansea Rover’s in the UK