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Learn from my wasted life Etim Esin warns young footballers

Posted by Sun News Online on 2007/02/26 | Views: 1824 |

Learn from my wasted life Etim Esin warns young footballers

Former Nigerian international, Etim Esin, has advised young footballers in the country to learn from his chequered past and desist from any vice that could ruin their career.

Former Nigerian international, Etim Esin, has advised young footballers in the country to learn from his chequered past and desist from any vice that could ruin their career.

Etim was one of the brightest and most talented players to have ever come out of Nigeria, but the skillful player destroyed his career before it even started to yield fruits due to his poor disciplinary records.

The ex-Iwuanyanwu Nationale midfielder had landed himself in trouble on several occasions, but the most celebrated was in 1987, when he sneaked out of the Flying Eaglesí camp and got shot by armed robbers in Lagos.

Few years later, Etim fled from Belgium where he was plying his trade with Lokeren, after the police in that country had declared him wanted in connection with rape charges.

Almost 20 years down the lane, the ex-Super Eagles admitted that he wasted his career, because he had nobody to advise him.

The Oron-born star, who has been appointed by National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) as an ambassador on youth programme, told Sunday Sunsport that he would use his new position to counsel up and coming players on how to stay out of trouble in their careers.

ďIím glad that an organisation like NANF recognised and appointed me as an ambassador of youth programme in Nigeria,Ē Etim began ďThe position will avail the youngsters the opportunity to see the mistakes I made during my playing days, because those mistakes should serve as a big lesson to the up and coming talents.Ē

The former midfield-dazzler also spoke on his scandal-ridden career like never before in this no-holds-bar interview. Excerpts.

What is your impression on your appointment as NANF Ambassador on youth programme?

Iím glad that an organisation like NANF can recognise and appoint me as an ambassador of youth programme in Nigeria.

The recognition avails the young ones of the opportunity to see the mistakes I made during my youth days. If you calculate the mistake I made in my career, it should be a big lesson for the up and coming talents to learn from. So, Iím happy to be an ambassador, at least, Iím representing somebody now.

The youths you are going to represent would want to know some of your experiences, would you give us some insights into what you are likely to share with them?

You know my story already - about the drugs, the rape, the gun shot and so on. It is just to help the up-coming ones to know that they have to be disciplined, focused, and also know that there is time to work and time to play. You cannot mix the two together and still realise your goal. One thing I have learnt in life is that you can just hang on your job and concentrate while you are on that job. But when you retire, you can then do whatever you like.

Why did it take you so long to really come out to solicit for help?

Itís just the youthful exuberance that comes with youth; you know when you involve yourself in stupid things. When one is young, youthful exuberance abound. You cannot blame me. You will agree with me that we did not have managers to manage us then. We were all in Europe just to survive, so from the little aspect of not really knowing what to do next I was fumbling.

What efforts are you making now?

Iím playersí agent. Iíve been to Akwa Ibom. The Commissioner, Dr. Chris Ekong is trying his best for me. He is helping me out and Iím happy for him.

How really involved is your state, Akwa Ibom, in ensuring that you are properly rehabilitated?

They are making a step forward. I cannot really disclose everything now, but they are taking a big step towards ensuring that I become somebody again.

How do you see your nomination by NANF as one of the 11 ex-players they will send to Brazil?

It has to come from some one like Harrison Jalla, himself an ex-player. It came from the lovers of football. Everybody cannot be a coach, there are other aspects; marketing, sports management, etc.

Are you in your right frame of mind now to really take up the challenges ahead?

Well, Iím not getting any younger. We are people with families and we have got responsibilities, so why wonít I be in my right frame of mind now?

During your time in the national team, we had the most exciting Flying Eagles squad. Taking a look at the present Flying Eagles being handled by Godwin Koko Uwua, how would you want to remember the Flying Eagles of yore?

The problem we have now is that some coaches allow sentiment to come in-between them and the players during selection. And that is why my heart will always go for Samson Siasia. He does not bring in sentiment in his team selection. I would say that by the time our local coaches stop attaching sentiment to their team selection, that is the only time we would see players like those of yore. If we must do well, we have to play nothing but the best players.

Now that we have a foreign coach in Berti Vogts, what do you say?

I think the local coaches should just learn some lessons from the foreign coach, we have long given them the opportunity to prove themselves.

I think the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) brought in the foreign coach in order not to give Nigerians excuses for not qualifying again for the 2010 World Cup. You will agree with me that the scandalous 4Ė1 lose to Ghana during the international friendly in London went to show that another coach was needed to tinker the national team.

But I believe that Eguavoen should have also been given a house in Abuja and Lagos like they did to his foreign counterparts. If these facilities were given to him before now, and his salaries paid as at when due, I believe we could probably have seen a different Eguavoen.

We should give Vogts enough chance to prove his worth.

Recently, the Dream Team IV rejected the bonus that was given to them by the FA. Now, as Youth Ambassador, what is your advise to players who demand ransom before they play for the country?

I think a welfare officer should be attached to the national teams to forestall future occurrences. You have to give the players good welfare packages.

Your advise to young players and the FA?

The players should be focused, determined and have strong will.

On the part of the FA officials, they should be honest with the players. That is the only way they can get the best from the players.

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Comments (1)

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.