Nigerian and SonderjyskE FC winger Abdulrahman Taiwo has stated that he his not in a haste to achieve his ultimate career goal with him being satisfied with the steady progress in his footballing career, he exclusively told Ojbsport.
The 23-year-old Nigerian international who plies his trade with Danish outfit SonderjyskE made this known in an interview with Ojbsport correspondent Ojora Babatunde while reflecting on his journey as a professional footballer.
The erstwhile Nigerian U-23 attacker made his move to Denmark during the summer this year after signing a four-year deal with Danish SuperLiga club SonderjyskE having previously enjoyed different spells with several clubs including Kwara United, Buraspor FC, FC Zbrojovka, Nitra, among others, in Nigeria, Turkey, Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively.
Speaking to Ojbsport, Abdulrahman Taiwo takes us through his journey into becoming a professional footballer playing in Europe. In doing so, he talked about his background, shared some experience about the challenges of a footballer, his career aspirations, his achivements so far as well as his personality and lifestyle.
How does your background look like growing up as an individual?
I think it was a bit difficult because of family issues. I grew up with my mum and aunt and it was not so easy. I was blessed to actually know where I was going because I knew I was going to play football. My life was all about football as it was the only thing that was entertaining to me. My family wanted me to go to school, to study more but I was just football, football and football. I kept pushing as I found joy in it.
You began your career at Abees Academy Abuja, moving to Kwara United before crossing the border to Turkey. How did all these process go and what was the turning point for you?
Well, I think it wasn’t easy. It is not easy for many footballers. My perspective is that it is like a journey where everyone is going to the same destination. Some people are very fortunate to go by flight, some by different buses, some by motorbikes while some are on foot, but no matter how the situation is, the most fortunate are the ones who are blessed to get to their destination.
I take every opportunity as a step. From Abuja (there’s a lot of story), to Kwara, to Turkey, to whereever I am. I am not in a hurry to arrive my destination. A lot of footballers wants to play in Premier League, Champions League, World Cup – I want as well – but for me, the most important thing which I’m focused on is ‘taken another step’.
How is life in Denmark compared to other countries like Turkey, Slovakia and Czech Republic where you have earlier played?
Denmark is a good, nice place but for me unusual. It’s unusual because my perspective of Europe was different from what I saw there. Even after the interview at the club, I said to them that why is everybody smiling, laughing?. Every morning outside you just see people smiling at you, sharing greetings like as though they have no problem. This is different in where I came from. I felt astonished and I was like this is to fake for me!. Trust me, those people were living without problems.
Also, their way of life is different in Denmark. They are more relaxed here. For instance, by 5pm, everything is closed. In my city, saturdays and sundays are like public holidays because before you know, everything is closed before 12 noon. So is the life in Denmark. No stress, no rush which is different from the other countries I’ve played.
What goals do you plan to achieve during your time at SonderjyskE and how do you want to realise them?
My goal is to try to score as much as possible. To utilize every opportunity I get in helping my team in the way I can so as to win laurels for the club. It’s not an easy process but that’s what I want. I know to achieve that needs a lot of hardwork and most importantly, lots of patience. I’m a patient person, so I’m not in a rush to be there.
You made your debut for Nigeria at the 2016 Pre-Olympics Suwon Invitational Tournament in Korea, how did you feel?
I was a bit scared of the crowd, a lot of people. Standing on the touchline realising that you are playing for Nigeria is like a dream come true. I was about to subtitute Taiwo Awoniyi and then I looked back and was like coach, don’t subtitute me in again. But I have to do this, so I got in and played, unfortunately we lost. Before the game, we were told that the stadium was one of the stadia used during the 2002 World Cup. So I was like ‘a world cup stadium!’. I was very happy and doubt if I had ever been happier than then.
At the second game of the tournament against Denmark, you netted a brace. What does it mean to you?
It meant a lot. It was a nice feeling. I was happy though not entirely because we lost the game. Personally, I was happy that I scored the both goals. It was my first time scoring for Nigeria and I still remember the goals in my head everyday.
You played at the Nigerian U-23 team alongside Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi, what can you say about his ( Awoniyi) personality?.
‘Omo Awo’, like I call him ( Taiwo Awoniyi). He’s a nice guy, cool and one thing that makes me like him more is that when you see him, he is someone that knows what he is doing. Though playful, jovial, trying to spin your head but he’s a person that is close to God and knows where he is going.
Who is your Nigerian idol while growing up?
Actually, I like the person’s style of play, that is, Ozaze Odewingie. His style of play was different from others – his movement and techniques are very sharp. That is why I like him.
Do you have a favourite delicacy and who is your most beloved Nigerian artist?
My favourite meal is pounded yam or fufu ( I don’t know exactly because they are both white) with Oha soup and dry fish. For my favourite musician, I love Wizkid. In fact, you can never be close to me if you don’t like Wizkid, we just can’t be friends.
Aside from music, I like him as a person, as an individual. I like how he is able to comport himself, stays away from drama, avoid a flashy lifestyle but stays on a low key making big deals. At times, I feel like sitting beside him to tell me how his perspective of life and how he spends life.
Finally, where are you heading next from the Danish League?
For me it’s plain, to make another step to a better league.