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Aneke Courage

Aneke Courage- I admire Kevin De Bruyne and would Love to Play like him

These were the exact words of 17 years old Aneke Courage Chikasiemobi, an attacking midfielder who is on trial with FC Centaur, Russia. The enterprising midfielder who was born in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, has always had the dream of being a footballer from childhood. He started playing while he was 10 and has never stopped loving the round leather game.

Humble beginning

“My parents never supported me in the early stage of my football career. I was beaten several times for coming home late from training and for choosing football rather than academics. It was tough back then”. This is a familiar story with most players back in Africa. The awareness has however changed over the last couple of years, as more parents are now encouraging their kids to pursue their dreams.

Cassi, as he is fondly called, started his footballing journey with Dynamos FC of Enugu, Nigeria, before switching over to Star Plus FC Enugu, Nigeria. The 5 ft 7 in tall midfield maestro who had shared his experience of struggling to find a sponsor to help him pursue his football dreams also had challenges with injuries.

Why football?

Cassi who will turn 18 this October, confessed that he had always had a love for the game while growing up. “My desire had always been to get paid for playing the game I love so much. Football gives me Joy and I catch so much fun playing it”

Aneke Courage who can play anywhere in attack except in the left-wing expressed his admiration for Manchester City Attacking Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. “Kevin De Bruyne is one player I look up to and I hope to play like him someday.

Move to Russia

The dream of every football player is to become a professional and move a step higher in his football career. It wasn’t different for Courage Aneke, who had always nursed the ambition of moving his career a step higher. That dream became a reality early this year January when he stumbled on an Instagram post about FC Centaur. He immediately made contact with them and was sent an invitation to come for trial with the Russian 4th Division side. The club which was founded on April 16th, 2009 is the largest private Club in Russia.

When asked about adapting to life in Russia, Aneke Courage was honest about his experience. Hear what he said: “Adapting to life in Russia wasn’t easy. It was tough, battling with the cold and the language, but I am learning the language gradually and am getting used to training in the cold”. The coaches usually train us using the Russian language. Luckily for me, some of my teammates can speak English and Russia fluently. He has so far played 22 games, scored 6 goals and provided 9 assists for the Moscow based team.

Standard of the Russian League

According to Aneke Courage whose favorite team is Borussia Dortmund of Germany, The standard of the Russian League is not too high compared to the Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, and the Italian Serie A. The major reason for the low standard of the League is because the majority of the players in almost all the teams are homegrown players. Foreign nationals are not given much opportunity in the Russian League.

Racism in Russia

Russia has always been in the news when it comes to the issue of racism in sports, especially in football. In 2011, fans of Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow displayed a banner. It was about Nigerian striker Peter Osaze Odemwingie featuring a banana saying ‘Thank you, West Bromwich Albion after the player left to join West Bromwich Albion. Aneke Courage confirmed he had not experienced any form of racism since he’s been on trial with FC Centaur. He however mentioned the attitude of match referees who often made calls against blacks on the field of play.

Aspirations

Aneke Courage who loves listening to music and also praying before crucial games, already has his mind fixed on his next move. “My dream is to move to a professional side in Denmark next year. I believe that with Hard Work, whatsoever you want to achieve in life is possible. Believe in yourself and remember nothing is impossible with God”. When asked if his parents have changed their mind as regards supporting his footballing career? He smiled and answered: “ They support me 100%”.

purpose

Discover your purpose and start living your dream

The purpose is that feeling that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, that you are needed, and that you have something better ahead to work for. The purpose is what creates true happiness. J. K. Rowling got rejected 12 times before she finally wrote and published Harry Potter. Even Beyoncé had to make hundreds of songs to get Halo.

There is a popular saying about purpose: “When the purpose of something is not known, abuse becomes inevitable”. This quote is so true in every area of life. Some do struggle in life, even when they are talented or gifted in several ways.

How do I discover my purpose?

This is often the question of most individuals trying to find meaning out of life. The truth is that there are steps and guidelines to discovering your area of competence. For example, when people keep appreciating how good you are in certain specific areas, it may be a sign.

Most often, we don’t see our gifts or talents. People around us can help us point us in the direction of our purpose in life. In this case, you need to pay attention and never ignore what others are saying about you.

Another amazing way of knowing where your direction in life lies is to check inward. Take out time and do a soul-searching probe of your inner self. Your heart is the best tool to discover your true purpose and passion in life. Ask yourself some salient questions: what do I love doing for hours without getting bored? What gives me the greatest joy in life? What is my greatest passion?

The greatest successes in life usually come from having the freedom to fail. Ideas don’t come out fully formed, they only become clearer as you work on them. You just have to get started. It is never too late to start living your dream life. All it takes is to discover your true self and start working towards achieving that beautiful dream of yours.

Edema Peter

I once went a whole season without scoring- Edema Peter

The dream of every striker is always to find the back of the net. That is the primary reason why they are signed. Unfortunately, every striker experience goal drought along the journey of their career. Edema Peter, a striker with Gbagada FC, Lagos Nigeria, shared his experience with me in an exclusive chat recently.

In my first season with Gbagada FC, it wasn’t so easy for me. I went through the entire season without scoring a goal. It was a difficult moment in my career. There were days I went home after a match, feeling so empty and unhappy

The truth is that world-class strikers also experience goal drought along the way. Take the case of Saido Berahino, who was so clinical in front of goal for West Bromwich Albion scoring a total of 35 goals in 100 appearances. He however went 48 games without scoring a goal. One of the longest goal droughts in the Premiership.

This season has however been good so far for the Ondo State-born goal-poacher Edema Peter, who is currently on top of the goal scorers chart in the Creative Championship with 5 goals. He is brimming with renewed confidence in front of goal, as he spearheads the Gbagada FC attack.

A graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Edema emerged as the most valuable player during his National Youth Service in Ekiti State. The eldest of four kids, he was quickly snapped up by Nigeria National League side Ekiti United, who gave him a 2 years contract.

Things did not however turn out as expected for the big No9, as he got a knee injury that kept him out of the game for 7 months. It was a huge blow to his footballing career, as he never got to play for Ekiti United.

Sometimes, things happen for a reason. When I got injured immediately I signed for Ekiti United, the pain of not playing for several months was so much. I struggled to fight my way back from injury, and it was not easy”.

In 2018, things turned around for good as he got an invitational trial with Gbagada FC, and after a few matches with the Lagos-based side, he was signed on. The excitement was immense, as he had the opportunity to once again blossom in his football career.

At first glance, one is tempted to think Gbagada FC is a club in Europe. Seeing the amazing set-up within the club, ranging from the branded team bus, beautiful pitch, customized jersey, standard Gym, and dressing room. The professional touch can easily be seen from within and outside the club.

The professional touch currently in place at the club has been birthed by the owner and manager of the team- Akinyelu Olajide. He has been the brain behind the amazing development taking place within the team.

Asked about the impact the manager has had on his career, Edema Peter didn’t mince words: “He has taught me all I have learned till date. Always patient with me, even when the goals weren’t coming. He has instilled so much confidence in me. This has molded me into a better person and a better striker in front of goal

Gbagada FC, no doubt has got so much going for them. This has seen a plethora of official partners, helping them to achieve their cooperate goal as a team. As of the last count, the team has a total of six official partners:

Edema Peter resurgence in front of goal saw him recently, scoring his first professional hattrick for the Lagos based side in a 3-3 draw against Iganmu FC in an entertaining encounter that saw the striker showing his prowess in the air with two well-headed goals and a well-taken penalty kick.

He later dedicated the hattrick to his late Dad and inspiration. Describing the dad who died in 2014, as someone who gave him the foundation he presently enjoys academically. An immense inspiration in the early stage of his life.

Dad was always there for me when I needed him. He was a journalist, and was interested in sports, and helped encouraged me in my football career. My Mum who is an Orthopedic doctor has also been supportive. Always there to nurse me whenever I had injuries. Hopefully, she would enjoy the fruit of her labor when I make it to the top

Asked about how he gets inspired for games, he never wasted time in responding: “Jamie Vardy of Leicester FC has always been my main motivation. I love the way he scores goals for his team and I usually watch clips of his goals before each game. I keep telling myself, that I can do it just like Jamie Vardy is doing it”

On a final note, he opened up on the essence of hard work and the need to keep striving and never give up on one’s dream. “The journey is not easy, because each day one is learning to become better. My target is to score about 20 goals this season, and I know with patience, hard work, and the help of my teammates and Coach Akinyelu Olajide, I will make it”

Accept yourself

Accept yourself the way you are

Accept yourself the way you are. It’s easier said than done, but  I love what Brennan Manning said: “When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security. We are no longer preoccupied with being powerful or popular. We no longer fear criticism because we accept the reality of our human limitations. Once integrated, we are less often plagued with the desire to please others because simply being true to ourselves brings lasting peace. We are grateful for life and we deeply appreciate and love ourselves.”

The question is: Do you stand up for yourself when others discourage you? Have you given yourself the benefit of doubt in a difficult or confusing time? Is there the tendency to love yourself for who you are and not what others want you to be? Do you only cheer yourself on when you feel positive or accomplish external goals? These questions might sound odd after all, don’t we all accept ourselves as a regular part of living our daily lives?

Self-acceptance according to Merriam Webster dictionary is the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s abilities and limitations. It is that ability to accept yourself as you are instead of how you wish you were or how you wish others perceived you. It can also mean the feeling of satisfaction with yourself despite your weaknesses and regardless of your past choices and behaviors.

Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you accept what you are and will do nothing to change and improve. It does not mean accepting your life and fate as it is. Don’t you say to yourself that” this is what I am, I accept myself as I am? I accept my character, failings, mistakes, fate, and this how it is and I can do nothing about it. I cannot improve myself.”

Knowing yourself allows you to see what you can do to improve yourself and your life. Self-acceptance means that you see your mistakes, accept and acknowledge your present position, and then look for better ways to improve. This implies that you understand and accept your character and habits, stop comparing yourself and achievement to others, and acknowledging your skills or lack of them.

Note that acknowledging your good and bad habits and traits of character can alleviate feelings of anger, regret, dissatisfaction, bitterness, unhappiness, or resentment but it is not an excuse for staying as you are. You are you and that is something that is never going to change.

When you learn to accept yourself and work towards the best version of yourself that you can be, you set yourself up for a life that has an abundance of happiness and progress. Spend some time with yourself by engaging in enjoyable activities so that you can bond with yourself and fall in love with that person.

If you don’t love yourself you will never find the courage to dream. You will eventually lose valuable relationships and you will become dull and lifeless.

If what you are doing now is not working for you, then it is time to do things differently, to change the way you look at yourself. Time to stop the judgment and like yourself more.

Are you going through a financial crisis? Love yourself! Are you experiencing heartbreak at the moment? Love yourself!! Do you feel like giving up? Love yourself!!! Has life dealt you heavy blows and you can’t seem to get back up? Love yourself!!!! Are you separated from your spouse? Love yourself!!!  Learn to see your mistakes not as failures but as learning opportunities.

success

Success is always intentional

In whatever you do in life, always do something intentional every day to create the success you want and deserve. Success is not accidental, it is intentional. Often, we describe successful people as individuals who have a good job, ride good cars, are happily married with kids, dress cutely, live in their own home, etc.

While to some, when they think of success they imagine wealth, others want power while others want to make a positive impact in life. All these are perfectly valid because success is a concept that means different things to different people but, no matter what success means to you, it is not something that will certainly come easily.

There is no single right way to be successful in life because what works for you might not work for someone else. Success is personal and unique to each individual.  It is the ability to reach your goals in life whatever these goals might be.

 You are the only person who intimately knows what you want to accomplish in life. There are certain achievements and milestones you may wish to attain. It is all about making maximum impact that brings fulfillment to  your life.

Identifying what makes you special and who you truly are is the best you can do for yourself if you want to be successful in life. Stop looking to others for validation that you are on the right track. The first step in your journey to success is to have a clear definition of what success means to you. Knowing your destination will keep you traveling on the right path even when the temptation to go off track comes along.

To be successful, you need to dream big, plan and prepare then put in effort and time. Research and find out what you need to do to achieve your goals in life, then aim to be the very best that you possibly can be based on your concept of accomplishment.

Everyone’s path to great accomplishment is different hence when you are pursuing your goals/ dreams, acknowledge that you might make mistakes and fail. Things will not always go according to your plans. Challenges will come but know that the challenges won’t last forever.

There will be mistakes and failures along the way. Mistakes and failures are the bridges you cross on your way towards success. There would be moments when you feel like the end goal is so far away or the process is different. Don’t worry these circles of discomfort are part of the success package. Acknowledge what you are feeling but don’t let it hold you back.

There are no shortcuts to accomplishing great results in life. A building’s foundations go down before the building goes up. It takes sacrifice, patience, time, a passionate desire to succeed, and a strong will to win. Learn from others’ mistakes and you don’t have to reinvent mistakes that others have already made.

Nobody wakes up to become successful in life. Success is always an intentional act. True success comes from work. You will never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it!!!

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