EX-international and president of Players’ Union, Tijani Babaginda has revealed that patience, dedication, and hard work made him secure a place in the Nigeria national team after initially overlooked by the coach for personal reasons.
“I’m a patient person, if you’re in a team that has Finidi George then you have to work very hard for you to be picked in the team, when I come to the team I know that Finidi would be picked ahead of me though we both have talents, but the moment I get to replace Finidi in a game even if it’s 15minutes I know I’ve to show myself.
I didn’t have the chance to play 90mins but whenever I came in fans would always cheer because I do a lot in the game during that period.”
Tijani popularly called ‘Okada’ played in five different countries on three different continents and spent the majority of his playing career at Ajax said humility played a major role in his success as a player and have advised young Nigerian players to remain humble and maintain a good lifestyle no matter the height football takes them.
“Some players lose themselves in the process of becoming famous as a player, I fought very hard to control that when I was playing not allowing it get to my head, though I’m naturally humble.”
The Olympic gold-medalist and Former chairman of FC Taraba also added the players union are working to improve the welfare of Nigerian players “some players have contracts and are not paid, some get injured and are sidelined which is not right and the players union are working to protect the players interest to avoid the issues of players been broke after retiring from the game.”
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