By Godwin Aikigbe
Oluwajoba Ambibola, 15, is exhibiting rare passion for football at the ongoing SRIL Football Academy recruitment exercise at Community Primary School in Isheri, Idimu, Lagos.
Despite lacking basic football techniques, the Ogun State indigene and student of Army Cantonment Secondary School, OJo Barrack, Lagos State, is prepared to work his socks off to reach the highest level of the game.
He displayed this intent and purpose last week when he brought his mother and father to the pitch to make a case for him after he had been substituted by Coach Chukwuma. He had stealthily left the arena for his home, a stone throw from the venue to tell his parents he had been expelled from the academy.
The perplexed parents accosted the coach and Team Manager, Abiodun Akinsanya at the gate after the close of the day’s training session, where he following conversation ensued.
Father: “Good evening, my son came home to inform us he was sent away from training.”
Coach: “We did not send him away, but only pulled him out of the game so we can assess other players. There are over 70 of them here and must give them all room to exhibit their talent. We asked him to sit with other players that were also pulled out. We have no plans to send players away, but give them ample opportunity to horn their skills.”
Father: “We want him to play football. He has great passion for the game and we are determined to encourage him in that direction. I had planned on taking him to Chris Giwa, but felt relieved knowing about this programme in our neighbourhood.”
SRIL are determined to help Oluwajoba, whose football idol is Lionel Messi, learn the ropes and become a great football player. He is an ardent Chelsea fan and wants to be a striker like the Barcelona superstar.
Oluwajoba explained his passion for the round leather game and his choice of Messi as an idol.
“I just like the way footballers do their things, especially how they celebrate after scoring goals. I want to be in the limelight like them. I like Lionel Messi and want to be able to score as regularly as he does,” said Oluwajoba.
Passionate and determined no doubt, Oluwajoba’s greatest impediment is stage freight. He is ostensibly shaky on the ball, a mannerism he must overcome to reach his goals.