Rivers United Midfielder Kehinde Adedipe says he’s enjoying the best period of his career in the Nigeria Professional Football League because he keeps working hard in every game.
Adedipe who joined the Stanley Eguma side from Sunshine Starswas on parade on Wednesday when the pride of Rivers ended Enyimba’s 11-match unbeaten run with a 1-0 win at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in a Match Day 18 encounter.
Wednesday’s game was the third for United in seven days and they, just like other NPFL sides have three more league fixtures to prosecute in the next ten days as the season head towards the home straight.
The schedule is not a new thing in this season’s abridged league as the race to quickly end the 2018/19 season in a bid to conform to the new CAF calendar intensifies. Adedipe is aware of the demands of the scheduling on the players and explains how they will cope with it.
“We know we will not have much time to train so we know we just have to keep ourselves and keep the shape we are. Playing last weekend, playing today and playing by the weekend.
“So, there is not much space for us to train and we will just have to keep ourselves and keep the shape we are to Ilorin,” said Adedipe.
A move to Rivers United last December was the first time Adedipe would leave the South West region of the country (where he was born) for a professional sojourn. He has however not shown any signs of home sickness and has indeed fought a good fight in earning regular place in a position dominated by locals.
Adedipe has seen more minutes in the league this term than the Rivers born quartet of midfielders Christian Weli, Fredrick Obomate, Chizi Chinda and Nelson Esor and he attributes that to hard work.
“Coming from Sunshine Stars to Rivers United, I think it’s a dream come true. For me to leave my comfort zone and come to another place, I know I have to work hard to be in the team and I give God all the glory. Since I came here, I have not missed any game, I’ve been playing regularly through the hard work I put in.”
When in a new environment, it is always good to have at least a friend or family figure around which aids in properly settling down. Perhaps, that has been the influence of 2014 World Cup star Kunle Odunlami on Adedipe.
Both players played together at Sunshine Stars for two seasons and also joined the ‘Pride of Rivers’ the same time. Adedipe describes playing with his teammate as a privilege.
“Playing alongside him (Odunlami) is a privilege. He is an experienced player, he has been to the World Cup and played in the league for long.
“For him playing with me is an opportunity for me and he has been helping me so much because he is my roommate so he talks to me every day and even on the pitch he corrects me when I make mistakes.”
Up next for Rivers United is a trip to relegation haunted Kwara United. While Adedipe’s side are just two points below the top three on the log, Kwara United are three points adrift of safety. He makes a strong declaration for the remainder of the season.
“Our (Rivers United) target is the top three, we have no other thing on our minds than the top three,” concluded Adedipe.