Saturday, 16 March 2013

ONOME EBI: I'm Living my dream!

Super Falcons and Atasehir Belediyesi of Turkey defender Onome Ebi, was heralded as one of the most exciting defensive prospects in the Turkish Female top league. She has duly delivered on that promise both for the national team and at club level, and is now regarded as one of the most competent and reliable defender in the female Turkish league according to analyst. Apart from her tiny stature, the unflappable Atasehir Belediyesi is quick, strong and dominant in the air.
To be a consistent dominant in a league like Turkey, you must possess a key stature of Emmanuel Emenike who shunned like millions of stars in the country but the case was not for Onome who translated her name as “My Own”. She grabs headlines at her first season in the league leading Atasehir Belediyesi to title glory as the captain of the team.
The 29 year old has almost everything except big stature. Strong in the tackle and commanding in the air, the former Bayelsa Queens in the Nigerian Championship was outstanding in the 2010 African Women Championship as the Falcons won the title. In this in-depth exclusive interview, she revealed the quality of her man, her next dream in the Super Falcons, and other great issues...
You have been in Turkey for almost five years. How have you been able to cope with life in the country?
It’s been nice for me because I always stayed focus with what I came here to do. I am really enjoying myself both off and on the pitch. I enjoy the culture and every moment as well.
You have played in Sweden with Djurgårdens IF in Sweden's Damallsvenskan in 2010. It seems Turkey is more glorious to you than Swedish league?

I enjoyed myself in Sweden as well. Sweden is a nice country and a wonderful place to play soccer as a lady, they have the facilities to train and equip you to good shapes, but I must confess to you that Turkey has brought more glory to my career and I enjoyed the country mostly because of the weather and a better contract. Another factor is that Sweden is tough in soccer while Turkey is just coming up in female soccer and they are really doing wonderfully well in terms of facilities. Sweden is a pro side while Turkey is an armature side. I have been able to justify my contract with the club and that is why they loved seeing me at every point in time.
You must have been a rich female player with your lucrative contract offer with the club…
I am neither rich nor poor but I am very contented with what I am earning for now. And God is really blessing my needs. God has not made me to lack anything as far as I am concern and I must confess to you that it’s great playing in the league.
In your first trophy in Turkey, you captained the team to glory and played in UEFA Champions League as a dream. What else did you dream to achieve more with the club?
There are lots of things I still dream with my club, I still want us to win the titles for many years and also to win the UEFA Champions league. I have so many dreams for years to come and also to be one of the best players in the UEFA categories and I believe it is achievable. Leading my team to glory was a wonderful day for me which I will never forget in my life. I was giving the chance and became a great honour for me and my career and that is why I said Turkey is home of blessings for me.
You have played at three female senior World cup, one Olympics games, and an Africa Women Championships. How will you count your blessings in the national team?
Hmmm, with sincerity National team has been so great for me. It has really helped at club level. I always have good memories of the national assignment and I wish my dreams for the team will come true soon. There are lots of great times in the team, right from the camping to tournament, I always enjoy the activities at the camping and the motivation of the Nigeria football Federation over the recent years and that is why we have never the country down in terms of female glory. I will say this is my peak in the national team, I have just started and I would love to take the team to the finals of the world cup that is my dream.

But you girls couldn’t prove much of your strengths at the last edition of AWC in South Africa. Were you disappointed?
It’s not only me but the entire team, but I believe we will prove better in the next coming edition. We want to rule Africa for years despite the fact that there are no underdogs in Africa again but we will put smiles in the faces of Nigerians again. We are the giants of Africa and we still remain for good.
In Turkey, which lovely place did you like to visit for shopping or relaxation off the match days?
There are lovely places in Turkey to go for shopping but I prefer Istanbul, the most visited and enjoyable city and that is my city where my club is. People came from other countries to shop in Istanbul being the central of Turkey and it’s really fun here.
How did you cope with language in the country?
It was big factor when I first came in, it made life so miserable for me because I don’t understand the language but with time and the mission of coming to play and achieve results, I had no choice than to learn the language, though I’m still learning it. I think I can understand some training languages and others but it’s really difficult.
How far have u been learning the language now?
I have stayed in Turkey going to five years now, then, I wasn’t interested on learning the language because I never intend staying for long but now I am learning so fast because there is future here for me.
Why did you not plan to stay long in turkey before now?
Yeah! Like I earlier said the league is armature and I never thought they could meet up my request, but to my surprise they did and that is why I sealed up my mind to continue and it been a great one for me now. I have been wishing to play the UEFA champions league someday and at last I did here in Turkey with my club, what I was looking for as a player I found it here in Turkey.
That means playing in Turkey has been the best in your career?
I will say yes for now.
How did you relax off the pitch?
I will say it sometimes boring because I just stay at home close to my laptop, I do hang out with friends and mostly shopping take my time a lot too.

And it seems you mostly spend time on facebook…
Not really but I have most of my fans in here so I just come to reply them and post update. And remember social networks have made life easy for boring moment. You can easily log into your account and share some post and feelings. But I am not addicted to it at any circumstances.
What is your best moment in the National team?
(whaoo) That was when we won the African Women Championship in 2010 and that happened to be my first international trophy and it was a great honour.
Obviously, you must have been in a relationship. Can you reveal the lucky man to us?
I am still single…
You mean there is room for proposal?
Hmmmmm... I am single so when I come across love I go for it.
What is your ideal man?
A hard working person with self respect and God fearing.
Of which profession?
Profession does not matter but love
Even a footballer?
It does not matter if love takes me there and it real, why not? What I want is good home. I am having good soccer career what will it take me to have a good marital home and that is why I am taking my time and I will not regret it of course.
What is your plan like after soccer retirement?
I still want to further my education and hopefully going to study Sports administration and become one of administrator in Nigeria. I love sport, I love what I am doing and I think going into administration is an ideal thing for me and that is what I want after my retirement.
That means you have an eye in Nigeria Football Federation seat in the future?

Why not? It is my vision and it will really work well for me having play the game to the highest level and I am seeing everything that is happening now, learning one or two things from different administration, then I can use their own knowledge to manipulate my own get it. They are really doing well at the NFF, things have really changed for good both for male and female and that is why we are seeing results and I will like to be there and contribute my own knowledge into it then.
Did you think the Nigerian Football Federation have been so fair to the falcons team in terms of match bonus and gifts?
As far as I am concern, they are trying their best, they raised our match bonus at the last AWC and I believe they can always get better in doing well for the female football. I understand what you are saying due to the money jamboree for the Super Eagles for wining their third Nations Cup in 19 years but I will still like them to do more and justify the country’s proud in them. I believe that NFF will surely get us close in terms of the match bonus in the future.
What is the meaning of your name ‘ONOME’
My adorable name means ‘my own.’ So I want my own husband, my own life and my own success.
Unlike male footballers, female footballers do not like exotic cars. What can kind of car is yours?
Like you said, I am not a car freak person. I don’t have eyes for exotic cars but I love range rover and unfortunately I don’t drive in Turkey. I drive in Nigeria when occasion demands but I love Range Rover.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

ORELESI eyes Eagles call up

Skenderbeu Korce left full back Nurudeen Orelesi is confident he can impress Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi enough to earn a spot in his current squad preparing for World Cup qualifiers for Brazil 2014.
The Dream Team V defender has been a subject of transfer speculations over the last 12months after the player declared to quit the Albanian top league but is next destination is yet to be revealed, but scouts across Europe are monitoring his progress closely and regularly attending his games.
“I think Keshi is doing wonderfully well in the national team, he is encouraging players in and Nigeria that they have future in the national team irrespective of where they are playing for,” said Orelesi.
“Before, it will be tough for you to see players coming to play for national team if you are not playing in France, England and Spain but the big boss has made it easier for everybody to come and prove their selves.”
“I know I will be there, I only believe in God’s time. I have played at the U-23 team, and he came to our camp and commended me for my efforts in the game, though I have not been in touch with him but I know very soon, it will be my turn to light up the Eagles camp.”

ORIZU earns rave review in Turkey

Stephen Orizu has won rave reviews from fans and journalist in Turkey for his performance with his club in the Turkish lower league.
The burly Nigerian born winger plays for Beledeyerspor in the Super Liga 3 currently topping the table with two points with six game to end the league.
Orizu, a gifted power playing winger who has the stature of AFCON hot-shot, Emmanuel Emenike, got praises from fans and journalist in Turkey over his promising display to help Beledeyerspor to Superliga2.
According to a Turkish tabloid, Orizu has become a watch out player over his dazzling performance, and scout from the top league has been monitorin his progress.
A promotion to superliga 2 could see the talented winger get a transfer reward to top clubs like Fenerbahce or Karabukspor who have been making enquiry for the player has been aiming to step up like Emmanuel Emenike.
"Nigerian players are talented and they are everywhere like the Brazillian players," a Turkish agent was quoted as saying.
"In the next one year, this boy in Beledeyerspor will be another big shot in this country. He has a physique like Emenike who played here before and this guy is also coming up from lower league. The fans are too passionate about his game and he has been an instrumental player for his club to spot."
A Turkish journalist, Hassan Malikki who first broke a hint on Emmanuel Emenike's promising display back in 2010, has also comment on the 23 year old winger in Turkey.
"I can't call him a Nigerian because I don't know what is on his passport and I don't know this guy will play for Nigeria in the future," said Hassan.
"But he's a very good player. He came from nowhere to start making waves here and I hope he can continue like that."

IGHALO getting closer to Eagles call up

Granada hot-shot Odion Ighalo said he’s not bothered by latest snubbed by Super Eagles coach following the list of foreign based pros released by Keshi to face Kenya in World cup qualifiers.
The prolific striker who has been in good form for his Spanish club in recent time disclosed that his time will come very soon: “Everybody cannot be there at the same time.
" I am not disappointed for not being part of the Kenya list because Nigeria is blessed with so many talented stars across Europe.
"Of course, I am doing well for my club and my plan is to keep this form. I am enjoying myself here. If l keep this up i know it would get to a level that the national team coach would not be able to keep his eye of me.”
Ighalo added: “Keshi has been a wonderful coach over the years, he has made Nigerians proud and I think taking Nigeria to the 2014 World cup will be good for him and his credentials. I think he has what it takes to cruch his opponents and pick the ticket.”

MICHAEL showers praises on Keshi

Kryvbas of Ukraine young winger Michael Babatunde has said he will make the most of his surprise invitation by African champions Nigeria.
The former Olympic team winger has been picked for a March 23 World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar

You have been called up by the Super Eagles. How do you see this opportunity?

Michael Babatunde:
I am happy with the call-up to the Eagles. I have always been hopeful that I will get the chance to play for Nigeria again as long as I’m doing well for my club. Honestly, this invitation is a dream come true for me.
What do you think earned you this invitation?
I have been doing well for my club and I believe I also did well with the Olympic team in 2011 and the coach (Stephen Keshi) was at the London 2012 qualifying tournament in Morocco.
You have been likened to the great Lionel Messi. Has that affected you?
I am flattered by this comparison, but as a young player who is willing to learn all the time, I know I have to keep working hard.

I always feel challenged whenever I read such comparisons. It is great to be likened to Messi, the best player in the world. I still have a lot to prove. Messi is an exceptional talent. I can only hope to be like him and this could make me a better player. It is always my dream to live up to expectations and so far, so good, I have not disappointed.
Do you think you have all it takes to break into the Eagles first team?
As I said I am always ready to learn, I am not in Eagles to outshine anybody, but to convince the coach that I am a player who could really add value to the team. I will be there to serve my fatherland, not to displace anybody. I believe it is my time.
What do you hope to achieve this season?
I always want to improve season after season. My target is always to do better than what I did the previous season. I want to lift my team. I enjoy great support here and that was why they were reluctant to allow me to leave in January.
Ukraine league started last week with Kryvbas playing a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev. Do you think your club could really compete with the big guns?
We are aiming higher and would want to finish well this term. My target is to help my team finish among the top eight at the end of the season. We could even better this if we can be more consistent.
You almost left Kryvbas during the winter transfer window, but they slammed one million pounds price tag on you to scare away the suitors. Were you disappointed that you did not move?
I am not disappointed because they want the best for me. Only an incredible offer could take me away because they know I have what it takes to improve at any club in this world. I know the best offer will come at the best time and what I need now is to focus on my game. They want me to grow with them and then get a better deal in a top club in a top league either here or outside Ukraine.
Back to the national team, do you think you could make left wing your own in the Eagles?
I will answer that question on the pitch not on the pages of newspapers. I just need the chance so that I could answer that question properly. It is only then that everybody will really appreciate my talent.