Premier League legend, Victor Ezeji, has charged younger generation of players in Nigeria’s top flight league to be “very disciplined” as that remains the only major key towards having a consistent, lengthy and successful career in the league.
Ezeji, who by the virtue of his debut appearance for Owerri-based side, Heartland, in Monday’s Match Day 31 loss at Bayelsa United set a record of playing in 20 consecutive league seasons in Nigeria, was gracious in his achievement seeing that virtually all that started with him back in 1995 are either not playing active football again or not in the country.
Ezeji has represented top flight teams, including two-time African Champions, Enyimba, and Port Harcourt rivals, Dolphins and Sharks, and had his historic moment when he replaced another Sharks product, Fortune Omoniwari, with six minutes of regulation time left in Oghara on Monday morning.
“It’s a fantastic experience for me. This is the profession I’ve done for the past 19 years and it is absolutely a big feat for me but I’m extremely happy that I still have the strength to play the 20th season,” begun a relieved Ezeji in his chat to www.npfl.ng after his cameo appearance.
“Most people that started with me did not make it to this point but all the same it was not a bad experience for me, it just feels great to accomplish the feat. 20th is complete.” added the left-footed striker nicknamed “The goal-mouth assassin” in his prime.
As an elder statesman in the trade, Ezeji, who interacted with many of the opposing (Bayelsa United) players after the match, also passed an important message across to football players in the country willing to match or even surpass his record.
“The players have to be really disciplined especially considering the fact now that we have AstroTurf all over the country which is not as healthy as the natural grass. We started playing on grass but with the way things have gone in the country, they just have to be disciplined on their job if they hope to get there.” cautioned Victor, a father of twins (Kayla and Kayle)
A word they say is enough for the wise, and the Abia-state born Victor is very hopeful that many more players will achieve the feat he has already benchmarked.
Ezeji will be hoping to make his home debut for Heartland in a Match Day 32 fixture against his former club, Enyimba, on Sunday.