Andrew Oke Omoyeni is an aspiring footballer who wants to get to the peak of his career. In this interview, he told DAYO EMMANUEL what matters to him as a footballer. He also talked about the place of God in a footballer’s life. The 18 year old talented footballer who trains with a grassroots club in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital dreams of playing in Europe where he says football is at its best. Excerpts:
How far do you want to go in football?
I think ten years is enough for me in football because there are things I want to do after football. First of all if you are to look at the challenges in this country you will want to be discouraged. For me the question is very simple. I have already determined I am going higher I want to get to the peak of my career within the time God would want me to be in football.
You mean ten years are enough when there are big names in football whose career have spanned over ten years and are still on?
Yes I would say by my own calculations I like to stay 10 years. The reason I said ten years is because of my age. And let me even say I would leave that for God to decide. It is only God who can decide if I’m going to stay more or not but for me I think I want ten years but while I’m playing football that won’t stop me from doing other things but if God says continue then I can stay more because God has the final say. The best thing is to stay connected to God, it depends on what the Holy Spirit permits at the end. I can play more than ten years only if God says otherwise.
As a young footballer what is your main challenge in football?
There are so many challenges but the number one challenge is the individual footballer himself. Then another challenge is starvation. There is no how you can play good football without good food. God forbid that one slumps while playing with empty stomach. Another challenge is the issue of finance. When you don’t have money for kits, it is a problem. I can remember the boot I’m using now, I bought it in December 2016 for N10,000. I also remember before I bought the boot my friend and I went from place to place looking for money for the boot before we could get the money through the help of my uncle and some Christian brothers in the church. I had once walked from Mile 12 to Ikeja looking for boot of N4,000 and on getting to Ikeja the price had gone up so I had to walk back to Mile 12 disappointed. I remember I had N15 left apart from the N4,000 which I kept for buying water along the long walk. But last December I was able to even buy a better boot for N11,000. I returned home with that N4,000 that day. There are boots for N16,000 even. Where would I get that money? There are so many challenges. But these challenges can be overcome one by one. Then there was the challenge of my parents not wanting me to play football. That one has been solved.
Why didn’t your parents want you to play football?
They believed that they don’t want two of their children to play football. My elder brother is also playing football so they thought he was the one influencing me. I thank God for my brother who was my supporter then. He had to tell my dad to allow me. He told him that I was even better than him. As time went bye, my dad agreed. The very first time he watched my game he was convinced. He was saying I should further my education, I told him I want to play football and I will still also go to school. Playing football doesn’t stop your education. Education is equally important. Then he allowed me when he watched my game and also after going to pray and God assured him. So there are so many challenges for young grassroots footballers like us. Food is a challenge because you must be able to have good food to perform well as a footballer and the food should come on time.
What is the place of God in a footballer’s career?
The place of God in a footballer’s career is very important. If you want to make it in football you must have gone through a lot of training in the things of God. Once you have identified with God before you get to the top it will be difficult for you to drift away, you will know without God you cannot get anywhere, once you recognize God in what you do it is easier.
Can footballers be godly once they see Europe; girls, money and other luxury things of life?
It will only take the grace of God to still remain with God at that level, to still remain the way you are before you left home, it takes the special grace of God.
Because seeing all those things you mentioned the devil would bring temptations. When you are talking about temptation, if you have not been tempted with money, girls and the things of the world you have not gone through temptation at all. That is why I said when you have the grace of God it will only take the grace of God with you to remain with God when you get there because when you see a lot of people calling on the name of God before they travel there when they got there they misbehaved after seeing temptation. It only talked the grave of God and how you have trained yourself in the word of God before you move out to the world.
In a way don’t you see your delays and challenges as ways of God training you for the future?
Yes I see it as a training because as someone who understands the word of God, it is nothing but training. I know the reason I’m going through. Some people may not understand that God may be keeping them away from some things when they don’t get what they want immediately. He would be saying I want you to be trained, I want you to die to your own will and for His will to come to manifestation. When you are elevating His will in your life you will see things becoming easy for you and I can establish it in the word. When God says as I have said in my word so will I do and he said in Habakkuk 2 that we should wait. He is talking about an appointed time. When God is late, He knows what He is doing.
You also like to play in Europe?
Yes I like to play in Europe. That is the best place. If you don’t play in Europe you have not really tasted the game of football.
And what part are you charting to Europe? How do you channel your way there?
The only way you channel my way to Europe is that after you must have got someone to sponsor you and getting an offer because instead of going for any trial in this country, the best thing is find a good offer, find someone that can sponsor you. Since I have no capital to use to do that that is just the best way. To find my way to Europe I have some agents who can do that but the issue there is finance, you must have done your visa so as to source for money for ticket. That is just the only thing.
There are Nigerian players that may never go out, is it possible to make it here? Is it a must to travel abroad to taste football in its peak?
It is not a must. But we have different things we are asking from God. Some will only ask for a pair of shoes and God will give them. For me my dream is big, what I am going there to do is beyond football. The reason I want to go there is to play football at the peak is that number one there are many things I’m going to change there. I am seeing myself as an African that wants to surpass what the likes of Etoo and Messi have done, for the grace and power of God that have been sufficient for me I know I can do all things. For those who want to stay or remain here I don’t blame them because what works for one may not work for the other; we are different. As our faces are different so are our desires.