Stephen Eze has come a long way since the 2016 African Nations Championship where he first showed his quality in the national team colors.
These days the Super Eagles defender is dreaming of playing on the biggest stage in the sport – if he makes the final cut for the World Cup -, but he also remembers his very humble beginning when a got his first football boots.
Eze was raised in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State; North East Nigeria. It was there he cut his tooth as a footballer, watching greats like Manchester United Legend Rio Ferdinand.
He dreamt of playing abroad and the first step to living his dream came when a Business man, a “Petrol Dealer”, bought him his first boots.
‘I was raised in Markudi, Borno state where I started playing football also.
‘Like most kids I loved to watch European football and particularly wanted to play like Manchester United Legend, Rio Ferdinand; he was my role model, these days it’s Sergio Ramos.
‘But things were a bit tough, getting boots to play, I couldn’t really afford a proper shoe. My first boot was bought by one Alhaji Bash.
‘He was Petrol dealer, he bought me my first boots.’
Stephen Eze will go on to play for an academy in Maiduguri where he was spotted by a scout, who also facilitated his professional contract with Lobi Stars.
Today Eze recalls the memories fondly as he hopes to lead his Bulgarian club side, Lokomotiv Plovdiv to a Europa League spot.
The father of one revealed he plans to tie the knot with his heart-throb soon, but until then his heart and mind remains focused on more success in football.