A former Nigerian junior International, Ike Udeh has joined the league of ex footballers with an autobiography to their credit.
Ike popularly called ’Ayaya Potentional’ during his playing career that spanned through ASESA Warriors, NITEL Vasco Dagama, and Udoji United Football Clubs all in Enugu as well as Julius Berger FC of Lagos told our reporter that the book titled ‘I Chose America’ centred around the circumstances that led to his moving to the United States of America at the age of 19 when he was at the height of his blossoming career; notwithstanding that he also had an invitation and free visa to play professional football for a top Belgium side.
According to the ex-Nigerian youth player, the offer to play in Belgium was so tempting considering the immediate huge financial benefits attached. ‘Winning the then prestigious “Bournvita Highest Goal Scorer Award” for the 1991 Div 2 League with 17 goals attracted many European clubs fighting to sign me but coincidentally I also got an invitation to school and play in the US”.
Ayaya noted that ‘It was a tough call but at the end, his desire to better his education proved stronger over the huge quest for instant financial gains that would have come to him had he chose to go to Europe.
With his choice for America, he went on to obtain a Baccalaureate degree in Health & Physical Education as well as a Master’s degree in Elementary & Secondary Education. ‘Americans have the ability to go to school and also play sports or work a part time job.
This is one thing that we need to get better with our youngsters in Nigeria because it will help our sportsmen to enhance their capacity,’ he added. Ike is now a certified and highly qualified teacher in the State of Alabama and presently a full time teacher and coach with Bessemer City Schools in Alabama.