Having started his football career on the streets of Owerri, Mosta FC striker and top scorer in Malta, Obinna Obiefule, tells ’TANA AIYEJINA he will turn politician after quitting the game to give quality life to his people
How has the season been for you so far in the Maltese topflight?
It has been great and God has been kind to me. I started this season in a very good form and today, I am the top scorer in the league. I have scored 19 goals this season, 18 in the league and one in the FA Cup.
What is your assessment of the Maltese league compared to other places you have played in Europe?
The Maltese league is fast improving but it is not as competitive as other big leagues in Europe, I must confess. However, it is a very tough league because as a foreigner, you have to be in top form. Here in Malta, teams are built around foreigners.
How are your team Mosta FC doing presently?
We are doing very well at the moment. We were at the bottom of the league table before but we have moved to eighth position.
Are Nigerian players highly rated in Malta?
They rate our players very high here. Last season Nigerian players won the top scorer and the best striker awards. Daniel Nwoke was named best striker while Alfred Effiong ended up as top scorer.
Why did you leave another Maltese club Marsaxlokk for Mosta?
I left because of financial problems.
You are in great form but Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi omitted you from his squad for the game against Rwanda. Do you think you deserve a call-up to the Eagles?
Yes I think I deserve a place in the team. I spoke with him (Keshi) and he promised to give me a chance.
Why have you not been able to play in the big leagues of Europe?
It is not late yet; I am still young and I believe my time will come very soon. Hopefully I should be playing in one of the big leagues next season preferably Germany or France.
What do you think is the cause of Nigerian players’ inability to play for the big clubs in recent times?
I think it is because our national team have not been doing well recently. In times past, Nigerian players got contracts in Europe without even going for trials but it is difficult now. I thank God that Keshi is in charge of the national team now and hopefully he will take our football to the next level.
Your brother Paul plays football too and has played for Nigeria at senior level. Does the game run in your family?
Yes we are six boys in the family and all of us played football. My agent, who is also my elder brother, Princewill Obiefule, played football with (Nwankwo) Kanu and Mobi Oparaku in Owerri. But it’s only me and Paul that played football professionally.
So how did it all start for you as a footballer?
I started playing on the streets of Owerri before I went to play in my brother Princewill’s academy, Planners FC. From there I went on trials in Denmark. After trials, I signed a one year deal with Thisted FC. My other brother, Paul, was a very big influence in my life; he made me realise that I could play football professionally.
Was there a time you thought of quitting football?
Never. Football is my life; football is my religion.
Can you share your best and worst moments with us?
I am having the best moments of my life now because I am scoring in every game. My worst moment was when I injured my knee in 2006 in Denmark and I was operated on.
Footballers and women tend to go together. What is your relationship with women as a young and promising player?
I don’t drink; I don’t womanise and I don’t want to be distracted now. I want to reach the peak of my career.
If you were not a footballer, what would you have been?
If not for football, I would have been a politician because I am in love with politics. I want to rule my state (Imo).
So when you retire, you want to go into politics?
Of course yes. I still have time to put things in place but from next year, I wil start creating awareness about my ambition.
But some say politics is a dangerous game…
(Cuts in) It is because of the way it (poliitics) is wrongly played in Nigeria. Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha is doing a great job in my state and these are the kind of people I want to follow in their footsteps.