Aside from enjoying his robust career development in Europe, Super Eagles and Galatasaray new signing, Oghenekaro Peter Etebo, said he’s passionate about touching souls with his Foundation, reports Taiwo Alimi
Making his second loan spell with Turkish giant club, Galatasaray with an option of permanent stay at the end of the season, Nigeria World Cup revelation, Oghenekaro Peter Etebo is very much contented with the way his career has taken since his debut World Cup in Russia.
Two years since the 2018 Mundial, Etebo believed he has done well to keep showcasing his skill, first at Stoke; the English Championship side that splashed over 7million Euros on him
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, I was the Nigerian football player, who was transferred to Stoke City, one of the long-established teams of England, for a testimonial of 7.2 million Euros, took part in 45 matches in the England Championship League.
“The first season in England, I was given the Player of the season award because of my contribution to the team.”
Etebo left Stoke briefly on to Spain’s Getafe in January and returned to his club Stoke City to feature in 11 matches’ midway into the season.
“I wanted to keep on playing and showcasing myself and that is exactly what I’ve been doing. The loan deal at Getafe wasn’t a bad one for me. I played 10 matches and scored a goal.
“When the offer from Galatasaray came, I evaluated it and my club and I are happy with it.”
In an official statement on their website, the club wrote: “Professional football player Oghenekaro Peter Etebo and Stoke City Football Club Limited have reached an agreement on the temporary transfer of the player until the end of the 2020-2021 season. Accordingly, a temporary transfer fee of 675,000 Euros will be paid to the football club.”
“According to the agreement made, our company has the option to purchase the player for a transfer fee of 7.500.000 € during the lease period. The player will be paid a net 1.200.000 Euro fixed transfer fee.”
Etebo said he was delighted to be joining a big club with so much history behind them
He said: “I am very happy to have come to such a big and historic club. Thank you to our president and our vice presidents for their warm welcome.
“I really felt at home. See you at the championship at the end of the season. On this occasion, I would like to thank our President, all technical staff and all our fans for a warm welcome.”
As much as Etebo is happy for his professional evolution, he said he’s excited with the effect he’s having on the up and coming Nigerians hoping to be like him in the future.
“My passion lies in touching lives in my country. I grew up in Lagos and also have a feel of Warri, where my game flourished and spotted by scouts to big clubs abroad. It all started for me from the streets and I would like to tell my stories and used my stories to lift up young people. I want to tell them that they can reach their dreams with hard work and perseverance.”
RISE TO STARDOM
For 24-year-old Etebo, his rise to stardom is truly phenomenal. Though, born in Lagos, he returned home for his primary and secondary school education in Warri where he began his youth career with Lord Honour FC in 2011. It was here that Warri elite side Warri Wolves spotted him and signed him up in 2012.
He made his debut for the Premiership division in the 2013 league season and within two seasons he had become a household name not only in Warri but all over the country.
A strong playmaker, Etebo often steals into the box to score vital goals. The late Stephen Keshi, the then Super Eagles coach, could not keep his eyes away for long, as he was invited to the Super Eagles in 2014 in a qualification match towards the 2014 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
From there he was invited to the U-23 Dream Team by Samson Siasia where he was able to show his full potential and helped the team win the U-23 Nations Cup and qualify for the football event of the 2016 Olympic Games. In fact, he scored the winning goal in the final.
At Rio Olympic, Etebo blossomed emerging as the highest goal scorer of the tournament and helped Nigeria take home the football bronze.
In search of a strong holding midfielder, the current Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, looked up to him at the last World Cup and he played in all three matches of Nigeria, leaving Russia with impressive records. FIFA credited him with five of the best statistics at the end of the tournament.
According to a breakdown of the top performers’ at Russia 2018, the Nigerian international emerged the best in five categories: Most take-ons completed (16), most fouls won (11), most shots (7), joint chances created (5) and second most tackles won (11). Etebo left Russia as Nigeria’s most successful young revelation.
Etebo has made bold his talk to provide himself as touch light to the young ones by moving around the country whenever he’s on holiday to pep-talk with teenagers.
He has returned to Lagos, his birth place recently to offer life and career saving tools to aspiring footballers for free.
The midfielder dug into his bag of experience while toiling the streets of Nigeria in order to achieve a childhood dream of making it big in professional football to encourage them not to give up their dreams.
He said: “It is good to have talent, but hard work will beat talents any day. You have to go the extra miles and ensure you give your best whenever you are called upon, put God first because he is the Alpha and Omega, be determined, and be disciplined.
“The idea to use my foundation to reach out to Nigerian youngsters is a well thought-out one. I want to reach out to teenage players and I want o reach them in diverse places. I was in Surulere Local Government-Lagos state and we held a summer camp where I engaged young players on the pitch and use the opportunity to pass on tips that would help them become a great player in the near future.
“I made them to understand that I was like many of them just a few years ago. And that is why I came up with this idea of Etebo Oghenekaro Peter Foundation so that I can be a living example to the many youth who want to give up now. I know how it feels because I went through it. I struggled and at a point our parents could not afford to pay our school fees too. It feels particularly bad when you see other students who have paid. Certainly, there are doctors, lawyers and other professionals that will spring forth from this gathering, because life is not all about football.”
The Summer Camp with Etebo has also been taken to Warri with the Super Eagles midfielder holding skill development and mentorship session with the kids. This was followed by mini tournaments bankrolled by Etebo.
Etebo took it further by donating books and school materials to and primary and secondary students in Warri. In April this year, at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Foundation donated food items to families in the Warri community.
“My goal is to make others succeed. Las Palmas vice president and director called me and said they are happy and interested in my foundation. They like what I’m doing and spoke well about it. Giving back is a passion for me. It is not about getting anything back. I want to touch a soul. There may be many out there planning to make it in the game, I will be happy to help two or three of them succeed. That is my goal,” Etebo said.