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Salami crushed my hope — Adeniji



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The Nigerian league is reputed for producing amazing football talents. Sunshine Stars’ striker, Tunde Adeniji, is one of the exceptional few that kept up that tradition in the recently concluded season. The player who was in secondary school just a few years ago in this interview with ESTHER EGBE beams the torch on his fast rising career

WHAT is your state of origin ?
I am from Sunshine State, Ondo state.
What influenced your decision into choosing football as career?
I love the game like most Nigerians kids, Its always fun playing football. I never planned to have it as a career but when I discovered over time that I was very versed in the game it felt natural that I go fully into it. I started playing from primary school on the streets and in secondary school.
What year did you start playing professional game?
Its been since 2012.
How long have you been with sunshine stars?
I joined the club over three years ago.
How do you feel not winning the league with Sunshine?
It is quite baffling that we failed to win the league this season. The club by the middle of the season was in imperial form and the fact that we were not even among the top three is quite stunning. We gave it our best shot anyway.
Do you think the Nigerian League is improving ?
I will say its improving. This is because clubs now travel with the belief that they can get the maximum points if they play very well. That is a remarkable improvement from a point where home victories were certainties. There is no way this new
found freedom will not help improve the standard of the league. My hope is that this can be sustained, but there are still many gray areas.
What is your favorite jersey number?
My favourite number is 17.
How did you feel being called to national team?
It felt good. It has a feeling of being on top of the world as it shows that ones efforts are being appreciated. The dream of every player or athletes is to represent his country. I am not left out.
Which striker has endeared himself to you most in the league this season?
I will give that to Gbohalan Salami of Warri Wolves.
Which stadium do you regard as the most beautiful in the country?
That I will give to the Nest of Champions in Akwa Ibom .
Which coach will you say has been the most fantastic this season?
Coach Kenneth Boboye of Sunshine Stars has been super I am happy he is my coach.
Which Nigerian player do you rate as the most skill ever?
That is undoubtedly Austin ‘Jay Jay; Okocha. I can’t stop admiring him when he is playing and I don’t think that applies only to me. Its a pity the country hasn’t found a player with such immense skills since he retired.
What the most expensive thing you bought?
The most expensive thing I bought is my car.
How much was your first salary?
I was paid fifteen thousand naira.
Which current player do you regard as the best?
Christian Ronaldo is my best player.
What went through your mind when you were overtaken on the goalscorers chart?
To be honest it was not exhilarating, I was not amusing at all. After all the hard-work it was not funny losing on the last day of the season. I knew Salami could pounce to beat me to the award after failing to score in the last match against Enyimba.
What club in the last season had the best jersey?
I will give that to Warri Wolves, their jerseys each time we come against them had me wowed. They were simply amazing.
Have you ever at any point tried to give up football?
No way as of now football means a lot to me. I love the game and it thrills me a lot being on the itch training and playing. I try every time I am on the pitch to make people happy and I know Nigerians have an undying love  for the game.
Did your friends play any role in helping your career?
Yes, I have a lot of great friends who helped me as I tried to find my  bearings and believe in my dreams. There were days when there was nothing to eat after rigorous training but they always extend hands of fellowship every time I approach them.
If you were not playing football, what will you be doing?
I will be doing business. I love buying and selling and that is probably what I will go into after retirement But who knows I may feel different later and change my mind.
How did your parents react to your decision to take football as career?
My parents were supportive; they assisted encouraged me all the way when it became apparent that I would be going into football. They got me all the necessary kits.
Which club will you say is the biggest you have starred for?
That is Sunshine Stars of Akure. It is a pity that we never won the league this season but we are certain that very soon the league diadem will be in the club’s trophy cabinet.
When was your most memorable time on pitch this season?
That must be when I copped an injury in a league tie with Bayelsa United. The match was just eight minutes old when the unthinkable happened. Luckily, however, the injury didn’t sideline me for the entire season. But its somewhat awkward having to watch your mates play with you not being able to add your quota.
If there is anything you would like to change in the administration of the Nigerian league?
If I become the CEO of the League Managing Company and it is within my powers to do so, I will make sure clubs no longer delay the salaries of players as is currently the situation.
Which club have the largest crowds?
I will give it to Kano Pillars. One always has a great feeling playing in the stadium. Playing in front of a capacity crowd brings  the best in any player. I love playing in Kano because of the crowd.

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