Star Check

Edidiong Essien, 2015 U17 World Cup winner opens up on life

Edidiong Essien Golden Eaglets
photo credit: Facebook/Edidiong Essien

Edidiong Essien is a member of the Coach Emmanuel Amunike’s 2015 Golden Eaglets team that conquered the world in Chile. He opens up on the role of football agents, how he said nearly ended his career and what young footballers should do when making key decisions.

Hello Edidiong, how are you doing today?
I’m fine and I’m sure you’re cool.

Tell us briefly about how you made the Golden Eaglets team for the 2015 FIFA World Cup?
I never thought of making the list, when God says yes, everything falls in places. I traveled with the Rapture team that was supervised by Coach Emmanuel Ntuk and that’s how I got picked.

During the World Cup, which particular teammates were you close to?
My roommate was Amos Benjamin but Kingsley Michael was fun-filled.

You scored in the 6-0 defeat of Australia, how would you describe the feeling immediately after the ball went in?
Scoring in a game as big as that bring feelings that each time I remember the goal it gives me inner joy. I was so happy to score at the World Cup.

Winning the Under 17 World Cup is a dream for every young footballer and you achieved that feat, how was the celebration that night in camp?
Joy overflow, lots of dancing, celebration, and merriment by everyone at the team’s hotel, but immediately after Coach Emmanuel Amuneke was quick to address us as he would always say “That one has passed, focus on the next one.”

How was your relationship with Coach Emmanuel Amuneke during the World Cup, and are you still in contact with him?
Most definitely, we still relate. Coach Amuneke is 100 Percent disciplined and focused when it comes to work, he is not sentimental, and like he would say hardwork is a non-negotiable term in football.

Edidiong Essien celebrating the 2015 FIFA Under 17 World Cup with Victor Osimhen and others
Edidiong Essien celebrating the 2015 FIFA Under 17 World Cup with Victor Osimhen and others (PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Edidiong Essien)

After the World Cup, there were reported offers for fou from within and outside the Country, tell us what really transpired?
I don’t want to talk about this because I won’t like to mention names but I’ll just like each and every upcoming footballer to understand one fact, that there is a difference between an agent, a manager, and an intermediary. That’s what is killing most promising careers here, the earlier they understand this, the better for their career.

If I would advise, at grassroot level, I would say be careful before signing any paper with anyone, most of this people use tricks and invalid promises to hold down players, at this point, the player is at their mercy as they will frustrate any move that doesn’t fulfill their selfish interests. I think it’s necessary to properly educate our youngsters so they don’t fall into these wrong hands like I did, this unique qualified people have frustrated many promising careers and I was a victim.

There were rumours you rejected an offer from Akwa United immediately you returned from the World Cup?
There was no offer.

What’s that one decision you took after the World Cup that you wish you didn’t?
The worst decision was to accept being tied down, but nevertheless, I’m glad I’m free now, with the help of my manager Honorable Nse Essien, most definitely, lines will soon fall in places.

That’s to say you’ve regained your happiness and love for the game at FC One Rocket?
Surely. But FC One Rocket to me is just a stepping stone.

Thank you Edidiong Essien for your time and timely advice for the youngsters, I wish you the very best.

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