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Suur Kumaga: Playing in NPFL is still like a dream to me

Lobi Stars’ new kid on the block, Suur Kumaga, has said scoring four goals in his debut season in the Nigerian topflight is still like…

Lobi Stars’ new kid on the block, Suur Kumaga, has said scoring four goals in his debut season in the Nigerian topflight is still like a dream to him. In this interview with Trust Sports, the young striker spoke on how he was scouted by Lobi Stars, the target he has set for himself in the ongoing season and his future plans.


How satisfied are you with your performance so far in the NPFL?

As you may be aware, this is my first season in the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), so I am very happy with what I have achieved so far. Already I have scored four goals for my club which means I am a contender for the highest goalscorer award in my debut season. I am grateful to God who has made this possible. I also want to appreciate my teammates for their support. I am planning to score more goals when the second round resumes. I want to help my club to win the 2023 NPFL title.

You must be surprised by your performance so far…

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If I tell you that I am not pleasantly surprised, I will be lying. Honestly, what I have achieved is surprising to me. It’s like a sweet dream. A few months ago, I was playing local football but today I am one of the leading goalscorers in the Nigerian topflight. Isn’t God wonderful?

Have you set a target of goals for yourself?

I have set a modest and realistic target of eight to 10 goals because this is not going to be a full season. The league is abridged so we are playing fewer matches. That notwithstanding, I know that if I keep working hard, I will meet my target. I pray for an injury free season for myself and my teammates.

How did you get into Lobi Stars?

I was discovered by Lobi Stars during their tour of Benue State. I am from Konshisha Local Government so I played for Konshisha United in the pre-season match against Lobi Stars and distinguished myself. There and then, I was invited to join the team. By the grace of God, I passed the trials and here I am playing for one of the biggest clubs in the NPFL. But it is also important that I acknowledge my local club, Hungry Lions, where I was playing before I was invited to play for Konshisha United against Lobi Stars.

Your breakthrough has been attributed to Dominic Iorfa who has a knack for discovering grassroots talents. How grateful are you to him?

Honestly, I lack words to express my appreciation to him. But let me say that after God almighty, it is Dominic Iorfa. Considering what he has done for me and some of us that he discovered during the playing tour, he is next to God. I still find it hard to believe that I am already playing in the NPFL. The only thing I can promise him is that I will keep scoring goals for Lobi Stars. I will do everything to justify the confidence he has reposed in me. By the grace of God, I am not going to let him down. In fact, my story will remain incomplete with a mention of Dominic Iorfa. He has taken me from nowhere to somewhere. Therefore, my prayer is that God should keep him alive for him to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Considering that this is your first time in the NPFL, where do you draw the confidence to score goals?

Football is the same everywhere. There isn’t much difference. Moreover, strikers get their confidence from the goals they score. Once you are consistent in scoring, your confidence continues to grow. I am also grateful to my coaches, especially my Technical Adviser, Coach Mohammed BabaGanaru, for the encouragement I get almost on a daily basis. In addition, I met more experienced strikers in the team and they too have been supportive.

How was the feeling when you played your first Premier League match?

I wasn’t jittery but I could feel the big stage. My first match was against Rivers United. I came on as a substitute in the last 15 minutes. When I was introduced, the match was still 1-1 so I wanted to score for us to win. Unfortunately, we were reduced to 10-men so that made our task more difficult. In the end, we lost 2-1. But I was happy with my contribution. My second match was another substitute appearance against Rangers at home but I started our third match at Abia Warriors where I scored my first goal in the NPFL for Lobi Stars to record their first away win of the season.

Which is your best match so far in the NPFL?

I can say my best match so far is against Abia Warriors where I started and scored my first league goal. The second will be against Bayelsa United in Jos. I came off the bench to score two goals. So, these are my best matches for now in the colours of Lobi Stars.

Which of the matches left you disappointed in yourself?

I will say my performance in our home match against Doma United fell below my expectations. I was not happy with the way I performed. One thing about me is that once I don’t play well, I know. I don’t need anybody to tell me.

Apart from monetary benefits, what else have you gained by playing for Lobi Stars?

Well, as you know, Lobi Stars is one of the biggest clubs in the Nigerian league. Therefore, playing for Lobi Stars has raised my profile. I am no longer a hidden star. If I want to play for any of the other big clubs like Rivers United, Rangers, Kano Pillars (before they were relegated), Akwa United and the rest, it won’t be too difficult for me again because I now have a profile.

How popular are you in your home town now that you are playing in the NPFL?

Yeah, my popularity has increased but I am still my old self. I don’t want to allow my little success to get into my head. You know we are on break so as we talk, I am in my hometown watching a local match. Nothing much has changed about me. I can say the only difference is that before, I could buy biscuits and eat by the roadside but if I do the same thing now, it might attract different reactions. Apart from that I am still Kumaga Suur. I still give respect to everyone I come across.

Who is your role model?

When I started, my role model was Eden Hazard. Then he was playing for Chelsea. I like his style of play so I tried to mould my game after him. I had so many of his videos on my phone. As a matter of fact, whenever I played, people called me Hazard. So, it became my nickname.

What’s your dream club in Europe?

I am a fan of Chelsea so I will be happy to play for the club. However, football is business so I will be willing to play for any other club, especially in Europe.

What is your ultimate dream as a football player?

My ambition is to play professional football abroad and also play for the Super Eagles. It is not going to be a stroll in the park but with determination, hard work and commitment, I believe I can achieve my dream.

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