Our individual journey in life varies. To some, life is fair, to some it’s not.
The ordeals of life has been proverbially likened to a talking drum. When the talking drum is facing another, it backs another person. Gone are the days when parents’ career choice for their children was Medicine, law, and Engineering.
Parents’ emphatically frown at the thought of their children pursuing a sporting career. Some notable footballers have given an account of how their parents literarily chased them off football pitches and tagged them unserious for pursuing a sporting career. Such a lack of support from ones’ immediate family did affect a lot of prospects from achieving their dreams.
But in the case of Toluwalase Arokodare whose first word as a baby was “goal”, it has been smooth sailing for him.
“The first word I said as a baby was goal.”
Born the youngest of four children (all boys) in Festac, Lagos, Nigeria. The 19-year-old lanky striker was quick to heap praises on his family in an interview with OJBSPORT.
“Growing up was ok, we were not rich or poor but my parents’ gave us the best education, we all went to private school. We got the major things we needed as kids, we didn’t have a fancy lifestyle but we were grateful.
“I was lucky enough to have the full support from my family to go into football and that has helped me to the point I am today. My brothers didn’t have the same support because football wasn’t as big as this then.”
Toluwalase started his football career with Kash academy in Festac,
“Kash academy groomed me and I must say they played a huge part in my life. They brushed me”
Toluwalase combined education and football together during his high school days, all thanks to ‘‘TIA (The international sports academy) owned by ex Nigerian player Chief Segun Odegbami’. He joined ‘flying sports academy’ of Festac for a while. But began his sojourn to European football with ‘Box to Box’ football academy in Surulere, Lagos.
Having been on trials for two different European clubs in the past (Freiburg/Germany and Toulousef/France) from ‘BOX TO BOX Academy’, Toluwalase finally joined a Latvian side in June 2019.
Valmiera FC unveiled the Festac born striker alongside two other Nigerians, Laide Badmus and Abiodun Saliyu.
He revealed how settling down was easy for him and the lads because of the warm welcome they received.
“It wasn’t difficult settling down in Latvia because it wasn’t my first time in Europe. But it’s a little bit colder compared to the others because we are closer to Russia. The people here made us feel welcome.”
With 5 goals in his first 9 games with the Latvian side this season, Tolu stressed out the point that the form also comes with lots of pressure.
“it’s a huge confidence boost but it also comes with a lot of pressure, because your teammates, coach, and fans are expecting you to do better than the previous game”.
He managed to register 7 goals in sixteen appearances in his maiden season, he played the season with a shoulder injury.
Speaking further about the injury, he said “when I signed for Valmiera I had to end the season with an injured shoulder, it wasn’t the first time though, the first time it ever happened was in flying sport, someone tried to run past me and I tried to block them. And I hurt my shoulder in the process, it was painful”
I knew people then who had hurt their shoulders and I know how painful it always looks when it happened to them, I was like if this is what’s happening to me I probably might not be able to play football anymore, but here I am today.”
He has lofty dreams like all football players and Valmiera football club has afforded him a launching pad to achieving these beautiful dreams. The support system and the amazing environment provided by the Latvian club side, has no doubt helped the striker who currently dorn Jersey No 99 for the 24 year-old Club to hit the ground running this season.