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Felix Orode: I want a chance to play for Super Eagles

Twenty five-year-old Felix Orode hails from Delta State but was raised in Kaduna where his family still resides. His story is one of triumph in…

Twenty five-year-old Felix Orode hails from Delta State but was raised in Kaduna where his family still resides. His story is one of triumph in the face of adversity, despite all the odds stacked against him, the midfielder plods with hopes of making it big in football. The following is his experience playing football across three continents.
How did it all begin? How did you find yourself in Argentina?
My story is really hard and tough because I come from a home where we do not have much or too little, we’re in the middle. I lost my dad when I was three years going on four years. I passed through many things, I helped my mom to sell bread, I helped her to grind [pepper mill] tomatoes, etc. My dad was a royal, he didn’t want us to play football because he wanted us to study. But when I lost my dad so many things happened. His brothers came and took all his cars and the houses. From there I decided to play football because I had the talent. My elder brother chose to play for the Togo national team and my junior brother played in Bahrain and Bangladesh. I moved to the U20s with coach Godwin Uwua. I only played one game against Gabon in Abuja which we won 3-0. From there an agent called Marcelo Houseman took me to Portugal and then Spain. He’s no longer my agent. The same agent took me to Argentina at San Lorenzo in the first division.
At San Lorenzo you played under Diego Simeone?
Yes, that was my coach, he loved me so much like his son. The man encouraged me so much. But things didn’t go well because of my agent. He was asking for big money and fighting with the coach and the club. I didn’t like the way things went so I started managing myself since then. I’m playing in the lower divisions in Argentina now because I started managing myself. I found it difficult to trust anyone. My dream is to go back to the first division.
In Argentina major news organizations carried the story about your team mates buying you a ticket to come home. How did it happen?
The last time I came home was July 2011. Since then, even when I lost my elder sister last year, I could not travel because of money due to the conditions in the lower division. They don’t pay good money there. So my team mates asked me when was the last time I went home, and I said it’s over five years. I told them I missed my family and my mom but I didn’t know how to go about it.
What is the salary like in the fourth division in Argentina?
The salary is between $1000 and $2000 monthly.
So they decided to pool money together among themselves?
Yes, the whole team, we’re 32, every one of them including the coach and the doctor, the cleaner, the president and the president’s wife contributed money to buy the flight ticket. But no one told me they had bought a ticket for me. The day they told me, I don’t know how to explain it to you, but the joy I had was unspeakable. I didn’t know how to thank them that’s why I took my time to write it down and posted on my Twitter [account] because that was the only way I could show my gratitude to my team mates, to the coaches and the president of the club, his wife and the fans. Everybody helped me a lot. After giving me the flight ticket, they also gave me money for the trip and the club gave me jerseys for my brothers and other family members among other things.
How was it when your mom saw you in Kaduna?
My elder sister almost fainted, she danced and shouted. My mom didn’t know if it was me or somebody else. She jumped and rejoiced because she had not seen me in five years. My sister cried and laughed at the same time. My friends cried because it had been a long time.
After your appearance on Argentine TV, how did locals behave towards you?
Everybody was so happy. When walking on the street people were so happy to see me. I live in Buenos Aires. The whole of Argentina, people I know, those I don’t know sent me goodwill messages on my Facebook, via Twitter. I don’t know how they got my number but people just sent messages of congratulations.
You have played at San Lorenzo, Communicaciones, gone to Peru and returned to Argentina, you’re married with two children, how is life in Argentina as a Nigerian, as a foreigner?
I have been in that country for seven years, I know how to speak and write their language, for me apart from football I’m living good with my wife, son and daughter. All the time I was moving clubs, I was looking for a place where I could stand firm. Why I traveled to Peru last year was because I chatted with Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Babayaro because of the national camp. I explained my case to them that I needed invitation to the national team. They said if I could move to a second or first division team, that’s why I went to Peru to play in the second division. When I got there, I realized the Peruvian league is not too strong, so I returned to Argentina. I want to play for my national, I don’t know how it can happen but I want to play for my national team.
Are there many Nigerians playing in Argentina?
The only Nigerian I know I met in a salon. He was playing in another division in another state. I know other Nigerians who sell clothes on the streets but presently I’m the only Nigerian playing football. But there are other blacks from Gabon and Colombia.
Nigeria and Argentina have played regularly in the World Cup, how was it like watching among Argentines?
The first one I watched was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and I was in my house with people asking questions about which team I would support. I told them that I would support my country but that I wished both of them the best of luck. And in 2014 when Ahmed Musa scored against Argentina, the way I shouted people were so afraid.
Hope it did not get you into trouble?
Not at all, they know I love my country.
And your wife is Argentinean, what went through her mind at that time?
My wife supports me 50/50 because I told her about my country. I’ve told her many beautiful things about Africa.
And your son, is he aware of his Nigerian heritage? Do you tell him about Nigeria?
My son is two years and 11 months old now and I tell him everything about Nigeria. My son knows football and each time I go out to train he asks if I scored a goal. He asks me questions. He watches me play. Once I fell on the pitch and he kept shouting, ‘get up daddy’.
So what is your plan for the future?
I hope to get a bigger club so I can get to defend my national team colours. I want to appeal to the national team coaches to give me a chance to prove myself and I promise I will not let Nigeria down.
Culled from Goal.com

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