Al-Feiha of Saudi Arabia striker and former CHAN Eagles striker Tunde Adeniji tells IKENWA NNABUOGOR in this interview that he has a licence to score goals…
SCORENIGERIA: Congratulations on your hat-trick, Tunde and your club Al-Feiha are second on the table after a massive 5-2 win. That must be a huge achievement for you, isn’t it?
TUNDE ADENIJI: Thanks a lot, it feels good to score a hat-trick and help your team to a great win that’s good for our promotion. It was a very good game for me and I must say it was great for me.
Was that what got you to sign for the second division side?
You can say that again, the club are a very ambitious side that had been relegated and I thought it was a wise move for me and for now no regrets.
What were the other things at the club that made you sign for them?
I saw that Al-Feiha were a very ambitious club like I pointed out earlier and we play with so much zeal and excitement that we belong to the Super League and that motivation alone is second to none.
What about the club’s management?
Their resolve to get back to the Super League is paramount in their plans and they have been so much alive to it. Also, they’re a good professional side and players are also dedicated.
So, what are your expectations with remaining league games?
My expectations are to keep scoring goals and secure promotion for my club.
Did you set a personal goals target for yourself?
Yes, hitting the double figures will not be a bad idea and I’m seriously working towards achieving it. I’m on four goals now and with 11 games remaining, scoring double figures appears achievable for me.
You’ve been nicknamed ‘The Tiger’ right from your days at your former Chinese side Kunshan, how does the name fit you?
No, I wasn’t nicknamed “The Tiger” in China, I carried the nickname over from Bulgaria, where I played for Levski Sofia. Levski fans called me “Tiger of Akure” because of my fight to score in any game. I think I fit the name perfectly and besides, it spurs me on to do better in every game I play.
Your goals didn’t come as expected in China, were you affected by the coach’s tactics?
Yes, I didn’t score goals in China due to the rules there that made it difficult for me to score goals.
What rules, please?
Only two foreigners are allowed to start a game and we had just three foreigners – one defender and two strikers – and foreigners must substitute foreigners. You see that rule was tough on him and no foreigner would rain goals with this tough rule. Besides, I didn’t have enough playing time because of this rule and coaches were not patient with me, they wanted goals all the time.
Were you disappointed with just a league goal in 15 appearances?
Of course, as a striker, I must be but I’ve just told you the cause. But I’m stronger and more charged now from that experience.
You were expected to take your fine scoring form in the CHAN Eagles to Super Eagles, what happened?
Yes, there are good and bad times for a player and that’s football for you.
But you’ve not had it that bad in your professional career, perhaps you’re not in Eagles now could be attributed to your not playing in a big league like France, Germany and Italy. What do you think?
Yes I have not had any bad times in my career yet, I still thank God for where I am, with Him everything is possible.
You’ve been playing in Asia for some time now, how soon do you think you will move back to Europe?
Very soon I will come back to Europe because last year I played in Europe for Debrecen in Hungary.
How would you compare football in Europe and Asia?
I think Europe is better because Asia is learning from them.
How would you describe yourself as a striker?
I know I’m not perfect but I’m good as a striker.
What are your strongest points as a striker?
Scoring goals, as you can attest for my game, I work hard for it and I must say that most of my goals came from hard work.
You were expected to take your game to mainstream Europe after your explosive goal scoring record at Debrecen, what took you to China?
That was no way I’d have turned down a Chinese offer at hand and wish to remain in Europe because I wanted to play European football. China was the best option for me and I didn’t think twice to sign.
Football in China is growing rapidly and attracting players all over the world including Europeans and I thought it was worth the experience. Chinese clubs hire top European coaches as well and playing under these coaches will always improve your game. So, I had no regrets going to China and garnering those experiences that are helping my career now.
The Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe didn’t also help matters, because I would have signed for a European club if there were no restrictions caused by the pandemic.
You played alongside your friend Haruna Garba at Debrecen and Kunshan, you must have enjoyed your partnership.
Yes, Haruna is very good brother and a fantastic striker. Our partnership at Debrecen will be remembered for a very long time by fans. We were like a big family in Hungary and I miss every moment with him, I wish I had him over here in Saudi.
What would you bring to Super Eagles if you had the chance?
I’ve been there before though at CHAN level and my record is still there. Of course, I would bring goals, team play and above all, hard work that would propel Eagles the greater things.
Tunde, thanks for your time…
Anytime, you’re welcome.