Nothing professional about Nigerian league – ex- KFA star

After graduating from the Kwara Football Academy, Ilorin in 2011, the stock of Ter’Ade Lordson Ichull has continued to rise. The combative midfielder featured for ABS FC, Nassarawa Utd and Warri Wolves before making the switch to Finnish second division side, AC Kajaani, last month.
In this interview with ADEBAYO OLODAN, from his base in Finland, the Benue State-born player talks about how he is settling down in Europe and his ambition after a 29 minutes debut against AC Oulu last weekend.

How and when did you make the move to your new club in Finland?

Talking about the how; I was to move to Finland three years ago alongside my Warri Wolves teammates, Gbolaham Salámi and with Azubuike Egwuekwe. We were to join KUPs in Finland but the club could not provide necessary documents, so my move was paused while my colleagues made the switch.
The following year, the move failed again because I couldn’t get my released letter from Nassarawa Utd.
But I was lucky this time that the deal sailed through.

Why Finland among all countries in Europe given the fact that the league is not competitive enough?

I dislike it when many Nigerian football stakeholders talk less of Finnish football as our league is more competitive and better organised than the Finnish own. Here in Finland everything is done professionally and documented, while in Nigeria no one cares to how the league operates.
There is no professionalism in the Nigerian league, contracts are not respected and everyone knows that. Clubs hire and fire players and officials without respect for contractual terms.
We need to do the needful about our football before we talk of other nations who are not known to be football nations. Honestly, there is no professionalism in Nigerian football. If I am receiving one naira here it is better because my work is being respected with dignity not like the situation in Nigeria.
You surprised many by joining a second division club, can you offer reasons for this?
Because you don’t know the step that may bring you success or make you successful in life.

What is your target with the club this season?

I want to gain promotion with my team and to give account of myself for who I am and what I am known for.

Which season will you describe as your best in the Nigerian League?

My best season in the NPFL was with Warri wolves when we emerged runners to Enyimba who I would say snatched the league title from us in 2015.

When did you start playing the game?

I started playing football right from childhood because I am from a football family. My dad, Tom Ichull played football and retired as a deputy director of Benue State Sports Council, Makurdi. My siblings also play football but not to professional level, same for one of my uncles who was widely known as Abedi Pele during his playing days but he couldn’t make it to the professional level. You can see that soccer is in my DNA.

Who bought you your first boots?

The person who bought my first football shoes was my dad’s friend who was a coach with Lobi Stars. He played alongside my dad. His name is coach Andrew Iornongu and he gave me the boots in 2007 when I was to go to KFA for screening.

What do you consider your greatest asset as a midfielder and which area of your game do you intend to improve on?

Marking ability is my greatest asset as a midfielder but I will like to improve on creating chances and goals scoring.
Your most difficult opponent and most respected player in the NPFL. It has to be Kola Anubi, the former midfielder of Insurance and Lobi Stars; he is such a good player.
Your first salary as a professional footballer?
N35, 000 which I earned at ABS FC in 2012 and I contributed my salary to pay for brain scan of my step mother at a hospital in Jos.

When did you joined KFA and what fond memories of your time at the college do you have?

I joined the college in 2007 and the fond memory I still have from my time there is when we won the Kwara State FA Cup by defeating Kwara Utd in the final. I was sent off in the first half but we went ahead to win on penalties in 2011.

Your best coach till date?

Paul Ashworth, who took over from Clemens Westerhof after the latter left the Kwara Football Academy.

How soon do you see yourself making the Super Eagles team?

I am always positive minded and I have believe in my skills. More importantly, I see myself as a project of God, so expect to see me in the Super Eagles team two years from now.

Messi or Ronaldo, who do you prefer?

I respect Ronaldo because he is the most distinguished player in the national team now with his personality and quality.
Who is your most preferred player in Eagles?
John Mikel Obi

Who are best friends in Finland?

For now, my best friends in Finland are my teammates but the closest to me is Mike Ibiyomi who we played together at KFA.

How have you been coping with life in Finland?

When I am not training or playing, I stay in my room because it is cold. I am however glad that many people speak English here so it is easy for me to communicate with them.

What did you miss about Nigeria?

I missed my loved ones but that is the sacrifice you pay sometimes as a footballer

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