Having come through the ranks to stardom, Super Eagles midfielder, Ramon Azeez, relives his experience, including how his mother opposed his ambition of playing football, his club’s challenges and the Golden Eaglets of 2009
How would you describe your performance with your club, Almeria, this season?
I think we are doing well in the league, despite that the team is down the table in the Spanish league. What is most important is for the players to put in their best to ensure that Almeria relegation escapes because we dont want the club relegated at the end of the season.
As it is, there are still more matches in La Liga and I am optimistic that with hard work and total concentration we will ensure the club progresses this season.
How would you describe 2014 for club and country?
I think 2014 is gone and I believe 2015 will be a better year for Almeria knowing that the team had some ups and downs, which is not pleasant. As a player, I believe that I can still improve on my performance in order to achieve some of my objectives, which is to win laurels for both club and country.
As for the Super Eagles, I do not want to say anything about it, but I am happy that I was part of the team that played at the World Cup.
How was growing up as a young footballer like?
It was a very difficult journey to this level today. I thank God for where I am and where I will be tomorrow. But one thing is certain, if a man continues to give his best at all times without looking at the struggles of yesterday, it is certain that one day it will yield dividend.
I never gave up on my dream of playing for my fatherland and also play in Europe, because of my passion and determination, which has paid off today. I was going from one street to another playing street football and making an impact.
In fact, my mum who I expect to support my dream did not support me and even scolded me. She made things difficult for me because my friends were serious with their studies while my passionis becoming a footballer. I was not deterred, because I knew that, as mother, she wanted the best for me.
Are you fulfilled as a footballer against your mum’s wishes of getting an education?
Football is what I love from my childhood, and I am still enjoying it. Even though my mum would not allow me to be a footballer, she was still supportive as my career progresses that I will never forget. At some point she just had to allow me to follow my heart. Now he watches me on television and listens to how people talk about me in my area and on the streets of Lagos.
I believe she is proud of me because playing for my will make her happy. I also want to thank Allah for his grace and mercy over my life because without him there would not be a Ramon Azeez today.
Even my friends now appreciate my talents and look up to me as a big star when I know I have not arrived.
How would you describe the Golden Eaglets team of 2009 that failed to win the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria?
I think we had lots of young, good players in that team, even though we lost the final 1-0 to Switzerland. It was a very good outing for the team in general.
Although it was painful losing the final right in front of our home fans, I feel we did not deserve to lose because we dominated the Swiss team and played our hearts out, but, sometimes, the best team does not usually win a game.
Having players like Ogenyi Onazi, Kenneth Omeruo, Stanley Okoro, Abduljalil Ajagun, Olarenwaju Kayode, Terry Envoh, Fortune Chukwudi and Sani Emmanuel, to mention a few, really made the team competitive for any tournament. It is great that Onazi and Omeruo are now playing for the Super Eagles. These are good players that can make things happen when you want them.
I wish the team lifted the trophy; it would have been the most memorable moment of my career as footballer.
How do you feel playing alongside Omeruo and Onazi in the Super Eagles?
I am delighted playing alongside my Golden Eaglets teammates in the Super Eagles. It shows that some of us are still relevant to the senior team and I believe others would join us in future.
If you were not playing football today, what other things would you have loved to do?
I would have done what my mother wanted me to do at the initial stage, which was schoolling. I would have loved to study Banking or Accounting, and I don’t think it is too late, since I am still young and I know that once I enroll to study the course, I am confident of finishing with excellent results.
Would you like to leave Almeria for bigger challenges during the summer transfer?
For now, I am still an Almeria player and I have no intention of leaving the club in the summer. I am optimistic that I will remain an Almeria player come next season except the unusual happens.
What is the next stage for Azeez this year?
To keep playing, growing and enjoying myself with football, because that is the only thing I want to do in life.