Sunshine Stars Captain, Sunday Oluwasina Abe has revealed that he came close to signing for Real Madrid in 2008 but for inexplicable reasons, negotiations fell through. Interestingly, the former junior international told Trust Sports that he has not shut his door on LaLiga as he is willing to play for FC Barcelona for any amount of money. Abe also spoke on Sunshine Stars’ fight against relegation and support for upcoming players.
When and how did you start your football career?
I started in an academy in Akure, Ondo State before moving to Sunshine Stars also in Akure. Professionally I started my career in 2002.
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Did your parents support your decision to play football?
I have no problems because my parents gave me full support to play football from the onset. Though some family members didn’t like it, since my parents gave their blessing, I went ahead and I was okay.
Can you give us a brief rundown of your career till date?
After I moved to Sunshine Stars, I played all the 2007 Africa U-17 qualifiers under late coach, Yemi Tella but I missed going to the World Cup because of my injury. I played under Ladan Bosso for the U-20 Nations Cup where we won bronze. I also played under Samson Siasia in the U-20 World Cup. We camped here in Abuja and played the Junior World Cup in Egypt. I have also played in Europe, specifically in Albania for Tueta FC. I was there from 2017 to 2018 on a year loan deal.
Did you have any role models you looked up to when you started your career?
I saw a lot of big names then when I was growing up but I didn’t see what I wanted in them. So basically, I had no role model. I was my own role model and I appreciate God for giving me the will power to do what I do.
At the moment, Sunshine Stars are faced with relegation. Are there hopes of survival for the ‘Akure Gunners?
If you have watched our last four games, you will see that there is an improvement in our game. We are pushing ourselves including the management to see that things work out for us. We don’t want to be relegated as it won’t be good for us as a club and that is why we are fighting hard to survive the relegation battle. I must acknowledge the tremendous support from the government, especially the Deputy Governor, for coming to our aid every time. I will also use this medium to appreciate our fans who are solidly behind us, urging us to fight more and escape being relegated.
You’ve been around in the NPFL for years now, what do you suggest is the best way to tackle hooliganism in the league?
I think that is left for the state football associations to handle. They shouldn’t expect the NFF or LMC to guide them on what to do. The authorities should do more to stop the fans from breaching the laid down rules to cause their clubs undue embarrassment. Those things have to stop so that our league can be given more respect.
What do you have to say about the ongoing clamour for players in the NPFL to be included in the Super Eagles?
Every player in the Nigerian league wants to play for the national team. If I am not in form, I don’t expect the coach to notice and invite me to the national team. This season alone I have almost 11 assists but I have not played in the last 2 games because of a hamstring injury. I am not saying they are bringing in their own people but they should look towards the players that are doing very well in the league. We have a lot of good players in the league and I will urge the administrators to look deeper.
How satisfied are you with officiating in the ongoing NPFL season?
I want to plead with the LMC to look into the officiating. Players don’t often want to put in their best when they go play away games because they have the belief that referees will most likely favour the home team. They need to remove such referees. This is not to say all referees are bad. We have fantastic referees in the league but those known for questionable officiating should be cautioned. I don’t believe in home and away as I always put in my best anywhere and anytime I play. I always want to develop myself. I will urge my colleagues to push themselves hard and not be distracted by referees’ decisions.
What is your dream club in Europe?
Barcelona is my dream club. I was almost signed for Real Madrid in 20o8 after the U-20 World Cup qualifiers but Barcelona remains my best club. Like I said, I was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid but the negotiations didn’t go through. Messi is my favourite player. Ronaldo is good no doubt, but Messi is better. I love teams that play good football and Barcelona is one. As it is right now, I can play for any amount for Barcelona.
Do you have any regrets playing professional football?
Not at all. I feel happy playing football. I play football to make myself happy, to inspire and help younger ones. If you ask about me in Sunshine, I have been helping the younger ones to understand the game of football. I am just always happy when I am in a football environment. I try to help the young ones to progress in their chosen career.