–Super Eagles and Lierse of Belgium star, UcheNwofor speaks on his early beginnings…
He may not have made a lasting impression on the mind of an average Nigerian soccer fan but he merited a place in Nigeria’s World Cup squad to Brazil under the Big Boss Stephen Keshi…
Nwofor, who banged a brace on his debut appearance for the Super Eagles against South Africa in an International friendly, talks about how he embraced soccer…
Life was tough just like it is for many young Nigerian schoolboys aspiring to become footballers in life. I was into street football; that was where I cut my teeth as a footballer. I never believed that I could go this far after choosing football as a career. I knew I was talented and all I had to do to was to remain focused and believe in myself, then I could achieve my dream.
The initial dream my parents had within them was to see me have a white collar job later in life, but I knew within me what I wanted to become. My parents did all they could within their capacity to ensure I further my education up to the University level but they lacked the financial muscle to back me up. I later picked up my boots and ended up on the streets, playing football.
PARENTAL SUPPORT AFTER EMBRACING FOOTBALL AS A CAREER
It was difficult at the initial stage when I opted to play football on the streets. In my region, people do not really give much attention to football; people tend to see you as being unserious when you choose football as career. All they love to do is commerce; they are into buying and selling. As for my family, it was a painful that I could not further my education given the fact that I was brilliant while I was in primary and secondary schools. Expectedly, the general belief among them was to see me excel in the higher institution, with the optimism that I will be the shining light in the family but that never came to pass due to financial constraints.
ANY REGRET NOT REACHING THE PINNACLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
No, I have got nothing to regret not going further in my education. I had the burning hunger to achieve that but the financial constraints at that time were beyond me, so I had to give it up. I am blessed playing football. Embracing football has paid off in the long run, so I am happy.
BRAZIL 2014 WORLD CUP LESSONS
The World Cup was a morale booster for me; I did not know it was that exciting. It was a great experience for me as a player and I will continue to remember the experience for a long time to come. It means I need to raise my game to experience another great World Cup moment. I really thank God I was in Brazil 2014. I certainly want to work very hard and ensure I keep my place in the Super Eagles. I believe Nigeria will be at the next World Cup so I have to work hard to be part of that team.
ABOUT HIS GOALS DROUGHT
I am working hard to return to top form and keep scoring again. I could not find the net against Congo but I will surely bounce back by the special grace of God. The qualifiers won’t be as easy as people think. Nigeria is the defending champion and as such we should expect tough oppositions from other African teams. We will hold our heads high and ensure Nigeria qualify for Morocco 2015 AFCON. We have to defend the trophy we won in South Africa. It won’t be easy but Super Eagles will battle the odds and qualify for Morocco.
All hope is not lost for Nigeria; we will work hard and win our remaining games to qualify. Nigerians need not lose sleep over our AFCON chances because we won’t let them down.
LIFE UNDER COACH STEPHEN KESHI
He is one of the best Managers I have worked with in my career. He tells you how he wants you play and corrects you with love. His pep talks bring out the best in you; you will be willing to go the extra mile for him. If there are things you are not doing well, he calls you aside and corrects you and once you start doing it well, he celebrates. What else can you ask for as a player? He is a great manager and I think Nigeria is blessed to have Stephen Keshi around.
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTIVATION?
I belong to the Christian faith, God is my strength and it is from him I draw my inspiration from. I love listening to the word of God and each time I do that, I receive strength to succeed in my life’s endeavours. Also my family motivates me. Their presence in my life is a source of inspiration and I really thank God for their support and prayers.
FRESH CHALLENGE WITH LIERSE FC, BELGIUM
I had a strong feeling I might be heading to Belgium to start a new life. Yes, it is going to be a fresh start for me and hopefully, I will help my new club achieve their European dream and move on to help my country in her AFCON ticket quest.
ALTERNATIVE CAREER TO FOOTBALL
(Laughs) I don’t really know but I think I would have ended up as businessman or delved into acting. Maybe I would have been given roles in Nollywood, the Nigerian movie industry, today. I believe I would still have succeeded in Nigerian movie industry today if I had not chosen football as a career.
LIFE AS A CHEF
Yeah I love cooking. I go to the kitchen rather than eat out because it is part of me. I only go out to eat when I don’t have the time to cook. Cooking is also my passion and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen.
I just want to appeal to our dear fans never to lose faith in Super Eagles despite our tough run in the qualifiers. The World Cup was an eye opener for everyone and we are determined to win our remaining games and qualify for Morocco 2015 AFCON. We knew from the onset that the journey won’t be easy if you consider the development of football in the continent. Every African nation now believes they can play at the higher stage like the AFCON. I believe Super Eagles won’t let Nigerians down.