Captain and attacking midfielder of Adamawa United football club, Tunde Adams has declared that playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League has been frustrating. In this exclusive chat with Trust Sports, the talented midfielder spoke on his desire to play professional football in Europe to brighten his chances of playing for the Super Eagles.
When and how did you start to play the game of football?
I was born and raised in Lagos where I picked up my interest in football. Football has always been part of me from childhood. So my love for football started in childhood.
Before now, it was difficult for parents to allow their children to play football. How were you able to convince your parents?
Initially, my parents wanted me to complete my education but I was adamant that I wanted to play football. Along the line, there were some challenges when I left secondary school but they didn’t stop me from pursuing my dream. I went on an amateurish trip to Mali where I trained with clubs like Djoliba AC and AS Real Bamako before I made my professional move to Germany. Mali was a learning curve for me as I was introduced to some football techniques and skills
How many clubs have you played for professionally, so far?
I first went to Werder Bremen in Germany as a teenager but it didn’t work out so I came back and joined First bank FC in Lagos, I later signed for TEAP FC in Abuja another NNL side before joining Spotlights FC which is now known as Katsina United. I also played for Supreme Court FC in Abuja and I left mid-season to Adamawa United. Last year, I played for Crown FC of Ogbomoso before coming back to Adamawa United in the NPFL this season before the league was suspended. I have moved from NNL to NPFL and aim for higher leagues.
How has it been playing in the local league?
Playing in the local league is really frustrating. I am talking about the poor and inconsistent salaries and our mode of transportation to match venues. It is tiring being on the road for long hours and we are expected to deliver. Sometimes, we embark on night journeys to get to match venues. Sincerely, it’s frustrating. Even in this time of lockdown, some NPFL players can’t even feed themselves not to talk of giving to others. Some clubs don’t pay up to the stipulated amount the League Management Company has mandated. So it’s really frustrating, some players can’t boast of 100k after the season because most clubs don’t pay and we are expected to perform. When we try to express our displeasure, we are punished and the punishment is most time, financial. Clubs don’t adhere to contract details of players and we don’t have good medical arrangement. Just look at what happened recently, some clubs will owe players for months but will end up paying only a month. That’s unfair.
In the early 90s, the national team was made up of players from the local league but that has changed now. what’s your view on this?
Well in this aspect, I’ll say corruption has destroyed the local league so far. The truth is you’ll see a player you’re far better than playing while you won’t get a chance. In the 90s, everything was based on merit that was why the national team flourished back then. The home-based players then brought glory and honour to the nation because they were good. Now, some coaches prefer inviting players based abroad that will be able to pay huge sums of money to them to get national call ups not minding how poor they are in the game. We have many home-based players who are far better than the foreign-based players. If our league was up to standard, there would have been no need to move out. For example, Spanish team is majorly made up of players from the league, same with English league and Italian league. But in the current Super Eagles, there is only one local goalkeeper who is not even used regularly in matches.
Playing for the national team is what every player desires, how close are you to wearing the Super Eagles jersey?
I was once with the Under 23 team in 2016. I was invited by Fatai Amoo who was very interested in me. I played a match and boom, some foreign players showed up and I was asked to leave alongside some other players. You know the politics involved in Nigerian football. I don’t want to talk about it.
If you have the opportunity to ply your trade in Europe, which club would you sign for?
I don’t have any special club in mind but I’ll love to start in the Belgian league because I believe it will help me to settle for big clubs. As a starter and African, I just believe Belgian league will be a good place to start in Europe. One can easily adapt to the European football playing in the league. I believe playing in Europe will give me the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles which is one dream I pray to achieve. I want to be able to represent my country in international competitions. I know I am good for the national team.
If you were not playing football, what other career path would you have chosen?
Music, If I wasn’t playing football it would have been a musician because I love music a lot plus, I also know how to sing. Whether I will be successful in music is another thing but I would have worked hard to make it in music just as I am working hard to be successful in football.