*Samuel Eto’o Fils is my idol
Exploits of Rangers International FC of Enugu cannot be regarded as complete without the name of Chisom Egbuchulam, whose skills was instrumental to the team’s feat of breaking a jinx of over three decades last season. His adventure was the cynosure’s of all League followers like the true meaning of his name “God is with me.”
As he shone like a million star in the just concluded season, he spoke about his rise to the top from a humble beginning playing from the street of Enugu to winning the League and also the League MVP he spoke with Olayinka Elebute of www.gongnews.net about his dreams to be the best.
Last season was amazing season for you, can you tell us more about who Chisom is?
It was a great season for me, I achieved a lot, second top scorer in the Nigeria Premier League, best player in the League and winning the League itself. It’s been so great, I thank God Almighty for everything
How did you started playing football?
I started as a kid, in one of the academies there in Enugu, Disdeft in Afrique Academy. I grew up there, before I came to Rangers. I first went to Enyimba for trials, I passed the trials but they said I was too young, I had to return 10 months later I joined Rangers. After 8 months with Rangers on trials I got signed. That was 2013 I played my first league match, my first CAF Champions League game as well as playing in the CAF Confederations Cup. Since then, its been so great. I have never looked back it been wonderful all the way.
Which coach believed in you that never see a small boy which others saw?
When I went to Enyimba it was coach Amuzie that believed so much and I when I came to Rangers, coach Okey Emordi and coach Monday Odigie gave me the chance. I played in the CAF Champions League against Recretivo Libolo of Angola and CS Sfaxien of Tunisia which gave me exposure, my continental experience.
You scored an hat trick on the final day of the League, was that your first league hat trick or first hat trick as a footballer?
It was my first hat trick in the league but not my first hat trick as a footballer. I scored six goals in a match when I was still in the Academy. But the hat trick in the league was my first as a professional footballer.
How did your first hat trick felt, knowing if you had scored more you could have outshone Godwin Obaje as the League’s top scorer.
It was a great game, the crowd was awesome, stadium was filled. I deserve it, but in the end I didn’t get it, I have about four goals cancelled earlier in the league, if that had stood I would have finished top scorer.
Looking at Rangers, they never tasted glorious moment winning trophy in 32 years, that was even before you were born, how did it feel knowing its your generation that brought back silverware to the club and a moment to cheer for Enugu fans both home and abroad?
For me, I feel like a hero. Because it’s not easy. Many great players played for this club before. But we were the ones who brought back the glory with trophy. I feel great, proud and excited myself and my family and everyone are happy. We had to win it, because we whet many people’s appetite all season long. It was a great moment, an unforgettable moment for us and the State. That’s why you saw the crowd coming in large numbers to witness the epic day.
How do you feel earning your first national team call up and how do you mix up with the rest of the Super Eagles squad?
This is my first time in the Super Eagles. They’ve shown me love, treated me like a brother. They’ve been so supportive. I also get motivated seeing the way the rest of the team work hard in training, so I challenge myself that I’ve to work even harder to get better. So that I will be part of the team for the World qualifiers.
You’re lucky to have your club coach, Imama Amapakabo, as one of the coaches in the Eagles, how has his presence helped you settle down in the Super Eagles?
Sure! Seeing him here also gives me confidence. Whenever I see him, I feel like its Rangers and he does fire me up in training, telling me I can do it. It also make me want to make him proud.
What was your greatest moment during the last season?
My greatest moment was winning the League. It wasn’t easy but we did it.
You scored a hat trick in the last match of the season but couldn’t celebrate because your team mate had a broken leg. What was going through your mind?
I saw when the incident occurred. I saw when the leg broke. I couldn’t celebrate the penalty goal because I was in pains. When I closed my eyes it kept occurring to me so it was difficult to swallow. So I was shedding tears. The goalkeeper didn’t make contact with him, the incident happened before he got to the goalkeeper.
Champions League football is sure for your team next season, what do you think needs to be done if the team is to excel on the continent?
Firstly, we have a good team. I’ll like them to keep the players, the ones that want to stay, we have played together for sometime the understanding is there, so maybe just one or two more players to beef up the team. And I know we will make Nigeria very proud with our game.
Growing up in Enugu who was your football idol?
I like Samuel Eto’o Fils of Cameroon a lot. The way he plays, scores, his calmness. I love all that, so I mime him in my style of play too.
You’re now an idol to younger players yourself. What message do you have for the young players?
To the young ones, it wasn’t easy for me when I started, I remember at a point I had to sell my phone to get a boot. I came from a poor family. It wasn’t that easy. But I here am today. The young players out there have to work hard and not give up. Believe in God. It’s only hard work, dedication and God that can get you there.
If the opportunity comes to play abroad where will you go?
There are many Leagues in Europe but, I always admire Spanish league and Bundesliga. But it depends on where God is taking me, even if I don’t go there, as far as I go to where I’ll play and prosper, probably get to play the Champions League then I’ll go and exhibit my talent and skills to the World