How Two Nigerian Footballers Landed In Mauritius
A lot of Nigerian players are hoping that someday, they will find greener pastures abroad.
They dream big to become like Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and John Obi Mikel who have made successes from the game.
Some have traveled to less-fancied countries, and ended up not pursuing their football dreams anymore.
These two Nigerians - Peter Damian Elem and Uchenna Stanley Igwe play in Mauritius with second tier side Pointe Aux Sables Mate.
Elem, 18 and Igwe, 19 though already established members of the Pointe Aux Sables Mate squad, are hoping their sojourn on the African island will lead to bigger things in future.
On how they got to the African country of Mauritius, Elem explained that at the age of 17, he made the trip to Vietnam and was hoping to tie down a deal but unfortunately the deal went south.
He was considered too young to play in the league in the Asian nation.
"I travelled to Vietnam when I was 17 and trained with one of the clubs in their Premier League but they couldn't sign me because I was very young.
"I had to come back (to Nigeria). After some months I got invitation for trials from Mauritius and that led to my signing for Pointe Aux Sables Mate only for one season," he explained.
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For Igwe, it was a different story. He had a brief spell in South Africa where his uncle resides.
He stated that at age 14, he played for a Cape Town academy but returned home to join Dosad Football Academy in Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State. It was from there he and two of his teammates got invitation for trials in Mauritius.
"At the age of 14 I went to South Africa to pay a visit to my uncle. I spent two years playing for a football academy in Cape Town. After two years I came back to Nigeria and joined Dosad Football Academy in Enugwu-Ukwu.
“It was from there I got a trial proposal from Mauritius with two of my teammates (including Elem). We all succeeded in the same team," he revealed.
Elem and Igwe have had decent spells so far in their first season for their club.
Elem playing from his defensive midfield role has scored once and provided an assist while Igwe, who hopes to tailor his game to that of Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mane, has netted seven goals in six appearances.
Both players are hoping to achieve great things at Pointe Auz Sables Mate despite knowing that the club is a modest outfit in Port Louis and play in the second division, compared to their rivals Association Sportive Port-Louis 2000 who play in the Mauritian Premier League which they have won six times.
Elem and Igwe said it will be a big feat if they can lead the club into the top division in Mauritius.
"I am praying we can get promoted to the top division," Elem said. "We are on course but my biggest dream will be to play for Nigeria, especially the Under-20 team."
Igwe has the same aspiration as Elem, saying: "It will be a dream come true to achieve promotion and then get the chance to play for Nigeria too."
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