Father of one of the latest soccer stars in the country, Mr. Jonathan Oboabona, has said that God has decided to reward his soccer talent through his son, Godfrey. The young Oboabona featured for Nigeria in the just concluded African Cup of Nations in South-Africa.
Oboabona who shared his experience in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday said he relocated to Ondo town since 1966 from Ohodua in Esan South East Local Government area of Edo State. He described himself as a football addict.
He said his love and passion for football made him to encourage all his five male children including Godfrey who is the youngest of them all, in to engage in sporting activities.
Apart from Godfrey, Oboabona said two of his sons – David and Daniel – are also deeply involved in sports and had represented Ondo in national competitions. He described Daniel as a volleyball star while David is good in badminton, javelin, and cricket among others.
He said, “I congratulate my country, Ondo State, and my son, Godfrey who is the youngest of my seven children because it was a surprise but fulfilling to me that one of my sons was among the players, who brought glory to our great country.
“Within my I had always known that the boy was a star since he was born. I had seen the soccer interest in him since he was a toddler and I encouraged him. When he was in the primary school, he used to play football both in the sun and in the rain and he would stay there whether he eats or not. I didn’t stop or discourage him.
“All his brothers are sports-loving people, even his elder brother, Daniel, plays volley ball, another brother, David plays lawn tennis, badminton and hockey for Adeyemi College of Education and he had featured in the state competition in the past.
“Godfrey, our baby of the house is very gentle, loving and respectful, even when he was in Akure, he would call me every day to know how I was faring. We spoke almost every day while he was abroad; he is a good son.
“We assist him a lot in prayers. Everybody in the family watch him play all the matches and we support him with prayers before and after each match. I am a Catholic. The secret of our success is prayer to my God for him and God has really answered our prayers concerning him.”
Oboabona said Godfrey decided to buy a Toyota Camry car for him last year “when he discovered that after retirement from Adeyemi College of Education in 2004 having worked for 31 years, I was still going about on Okada (motorcycle).”
He said the dream of the family for him was for the new soccer star to secure an engagement with a club in Europe.
Godfrey’s mother, Mrs Victoria Oboabona, a petty trader said she was very happy for her son and specially commended Coach Stephen Keshi for exposing her son to limelight.
She said, “I thank God for him, he has been playing football since 2yrs of age, he would not let me rest until I buy ball for him every time, from his primary school days, and I supported him, despite the fact that he always got injuries.
“At a point I felt like stopping him from playing football; I always felt like crying whenever he got injured. I would shout at him asking why he was putting himself in trouble. And in all he would say ‘mama don’t worry just leave me alone’.
“So I would let him alone and pray for him. I used to pray and fast because of him whenever they wanted to go for any football competition.”
And going by the windfall from the African cup for Godfrey and the rest of Eagles it was good that he was left alone to play his football.