Nigerian attacker, Brown Ideye is right back to competitive football with Greek Super League 1 side Aris FC after staying one year out of the game. The African Cup of Nations winner with the Super Eagles in 2013 spoke to Tunde Koiki about his plans for the new season.
You’re back to football after some time out. How does it feel to return to action?
To me, it really feels amazing because no one would like to stay that long away from football. So, coming back and being active once again is really good.
And for me, it is one of the things I have been dreaming of to do. So, Aris gave me the chance to come back and continue my career.
You always say you just love playing football. Did you miss football? How much did Ideye miss it?
For sure, I miss playing football, no player wants to stay away from the game for that long, especially, when you know that you are fit, when you know that you are not injured.
So, I miss playing football and I am very much happy to be back to the game.
You have played two Europa League games. The first for 90 minutes, the second for 86 minutes. Are you back to your best form?
I am getting there gradually because staying away from the game for one year is not like one week or one month. I still have to put myself in the same rhythm I was before I stopped playing.
However, I don’t believe that getting back to my best form will take time, I just have to keep on working hard and focus on the team which is very important right now as we have qualified for the next round and gradually, I will get there.
How difficult or frustrating was it for Ideye to be out of football for one year? Remember you say you love playing football…
It is not really easy, mentally and physically, it is not easy because I have to keep my mind, body and soul on the right track. It is not that I was injured or that I had issues with my club.
It was a decision of the club to terminate my contract, so I respect that but it is not easy for any footballer to pass through what I have faced in the past one year, but I have put that behind me already.
I am back in the game, I am focused on the game and I just have to kick off from where I left it. The last one year has been difficult and frustrating for me but I have put that behind me. The main thing now is Aris, I have forgotten about China.
Did you at any point feel like giving up?
I never for one day felt like giving up because I knew for sure that I was not injured and that it would only take time for me to be back in the game. I never for one day thought about quitting the game of football.
There was this thing in me that believed that as far as I did not offend anyone in China, that power just kept on pushing me. I was out of competitive football action for a year but remained active on social media trying to keep myself ready for this moment.
It is just the grace of God, it is not easy sometimes but it is also about being around the right people and also the people who can understand you and can help you get to where you are going to.
Two games, no goals but one assist through the penalty. What should Aris fans expect from Brown Ideye? What do you still have to offer?
Like I said before, I will just keep on working, the goal will come by the grace of God and I also have to listen to the coach’s instructions which I will always try to carry out on the pitch.
I am still among the starting XI, the most important thing for me now is to focus on the game and the goal will come. I am not putting unnecessary pressure on myself to score.
Every club I have played, I have scored goals and I will not leave Aris without doing the same thing. And talking about the fans, they know me quite alright because this is not my first time of playing in Greece.
They know me, they believe in me and they know what I can do but 12 months without playing active football is not a joke. But I believe that I will pick up in no time and get back to my normal form.
After decent performances with Nuechatel, Sochaux and Dinamo, you had a difficult Time at WBA and Tianjin Teda. This deal in Greece, tell us about it…
I know about the team, I know about some players already, when I received the call from the president himself, he told me what Aris needed from me as a club and I also explained what I needed from them.
The coach also agreed that they should sign me despite the fact that I had been out of action for one year. They also said they believed that having pre-season with them could put me back into shape.
When I studied the team from the games that they played last season, I saw that I would really fit into the club. They might not have the big names like some other clubs in Greece but they have the quality to move forward.
They have a good fighting spirit and togetherness, that is the type of team that I want to be part of. They didn’t offer me the kind of financial remuneration I wanted but I knew I had to get my career back on track.
I felt Aris would be a good platform for me to showcase myself and get back back to the game and for me, coming back to Greece is something I dreamt of before and I just want to follow the right path, having had experience of playing in Greece.
For me, I just have to focus on doing my job, getting myself back to full fitness for the season which has already begun with the Europa League qualifiers which we have been playing.
What do Aris want to achieve this season? You don’t want to pressure yourself with targets, but what would you like to achieve?
The target of Aris is to have a good season and finish in the top-four or top-five but I am not under any pressure to score and the club know that the goals will come for me but it is important that the team wins.
And talking about my plans, what I want to achieve this season, I came here to kick-start my career again and I expect nothing less than success and having a good campaign here and by the grace of God, I know that will come to pass.
The last time you played for the Super Eagles was in Ndola against Zambia in 2017. You’ve missed the World Cup and the Afcon. Is Ideye thinking of a return?
To be honest with you, I am not really looking towards that direction right now, I just want to focus on my club football. The Nigerian national team is the last thing I am thinking of right now.
I have been out of the game for one year and I am not even thinking of coming back to the national team now. I want to focus on my club career and get myself back on track before I start thinking of that.
You are a striker. In terms of goals, which has been your best club? And which was your worst?
Best, I will say Olympiakos and my worst club will be West Brom because I didn’t really have time to showcase myself.
So finally, after one year out of football, which Brown Ideye should the fans expect to see?
The one from olympiakos or…
I will say yes to the one from olympiakos because this is Greece and this is my time.