Monday, November 23, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Akwa Utd’s Relegation Still Pains Me – Akarandut

It is more than four months since last season’s top scorer in the Globacom Premier League joined the legion of foreign-based players by signing for Tunisian club, CS Sfaxien. After failing to help relegated side, Akwa United, remain in the top-flight of the Nigerian league despite scoring 17 goals and equalling a 19-year-old record set by Ishaya Jatau, Akarandut Orok spoke exclusively in his first interview since moving to Tunisia to The 22-year-old from Akwa Ibom State spoke on how he has been able to settle down in one of Tunisia’s biggest cities as well as his struggle in the Nigerian league before he hit goldmine last season with Akwa United. But the player, who got married in May this year, did not hide his regret about leaving Akwa United. Excerpts:

Congrats on your award as Glo League's top scorer last season

What was the first thing that came to your mind after you emerged top scorer of the Glo Premier League last season?
Well the first ting that came up to my mind was how i could give thanks to God for granting me such a favour in life.

Did you feel disappointed that in spite of finishing as the best striker in the Glo League, your former club, Akwa Utd got relegated?
I felt very, very bad about it even till today. If there was a way I would have exchanged my award for my club to stay afloat in the Premiership. But it doesn’t work that way.

And how difficult was it leaving them for CSS after being relegated?
It wasn’t all that difficult because in as much as I wish them well and want them to go places in the league, I wasn’t planning on staying with them forever. And my people were all happy, and wished me well even up to the chairman of the club, Obong Honourable Isong Isang.

How long did you play for Akwa Utd?
I played for them for three seasons – one season in the Pro League (which is called the Nigeria National League or Division I League now) – before we were promoted to the Premiership. The next season I left for Enyimba and came back again to my team where God blessed me. So ii spent two seasons in the Premiership.

At Enyimba, you were hardly visible. What happened there?
Well so many things happened at Enyimba that I could not phantom.

Could you fill us in on some of those things that happened while you were with Enymba?
I knew then I was a good player and Enyimba is a big team, if not the biggest in Nigeria and I knew I was in for a big challenge. So when I went there that season I saw some great players and at the same time, it was a challenge to play regularly because there were so many good players at the club. But I was happy to be there anyway. Also I believe that my move to Enyimba then was good for me because if you are not faced with challenges in life, your best cannot be seen. But in a nutshell what happened in Enyimba was just that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time I guess.

Are you saying that your experience at Enyimba moulded you for a return to Akwa Utd?
Yes. It really did because playing under a coach like Daniel Amokachi, who is now our national assistant coach was a great experience. And he really encouraged me when he was there. When I was about returning back to my team (Akwa United) he supported the idea because he felt I was young and needed to play regular football in order to develop my game.

Now you're with Club Sportiive Sfaxien (CSS), did you find it easy to adapt to Tunisia and its style of play?
With God on my side it was very easy and fast. The people here (in Sfaxien, Tunisia) love me so much. And God is blessing me almost in every game I play because I have always been outstanding. But I must confess that during the pre-season it was tough. In all of the club’s friendly games (during the pre-season) before start of the season I could not score a goal or even hit bar (laughs).But when the league proper started I scored a great goal in my first home game. I have never scored that kind of a goal in my life. In the next match, which was an away game, we (CSS) played a 1-1 draw and I provided the pass that resulted in our goal in that match. But after the third game I sustained a knee injury that has kept me out for more than a month now. But I am well now and preparing to play more games and score more goals for my club.

So what are the differences between the Tunisian league and that of Nigeria?
The Tunisian league is better than the Nigerian league in terms of security.
You can go and win an away match and come home in peace but in Nigeria you dare not plan winning an away match because of violence that will erupt after your victory. You will have to run for your dear life. Remember what happened to those fans before the match between Bayelsa United and Ocean Boys? Those guys died for nothing, and many players have died too on their way to or from matches. So it (the Nigerian league) is an unsecured league. These are things that we don’t need in football because it is just a sport meant for promoting friendship and fair play. The authority should make these paramount so that our league can improve and become one of the best or even the best. Another aspect is fair officiating and since I arrived in Tunisia, they (their referees) have done better than their counterparts in Nigeria. But I know that there is room for improvement and that the Nigerian league will improve.

So what are your plans apart from club football?
Well I want to further my education and be involved mostly in humanitarian services such as taking care of the orphans and the less-privileged, the fatherless and the motherless.

In what field do you intend to continue your education?
Well am into medicals. I read Science Lab Technology in Ikot Osurua Polytechnic. So hopefully will continue from where I stopped or take up another paramedical course. I want to save lives because that’s my calling, that’s my ministry. As people have a calling in God’s ministry saving lives is my calling and I am devoted to it and pray God to help me do better.

1 comment:

  1. MR GEORGE AKPAYEN,I MUST COMMEND U FOR WORD TO WORD POST OF MY INTERVIEW WITH U.U HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB.Many journalist jeorpardise peoples career and life by writing what they didnt say.May God bless u.