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Wearing the Nigerian Jersey was a Dream Come Through – Joshua Akpudje

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Toluwalase Otukoya

After six failed attempt of trying to get on the Nigerian Under-17 football team, popularly called ‘The Golden Eaglet’, before he finally debuted at the Under-23 level, former Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) FC star player, Joshua Akpudje, recounts how it feels to get a chance to play in the national team.

In a recent chat with this reporter, Akpudje who turned 22 years old this year, spoke on how had worked on himself, amidst rising from grass to grace.

Born in Lagos 22 years ago, Joshua Akpudje started his football career with Femmak Football Academy straight out of high school before joining Nigerian Professional Football League side MFM ahead of the abridged season in 2019.

“Seriously I didn’t learn any entrepreneurial skills, when I was young I was Hawking bottle water in traffic trying to sustain myself and family. Growing up in Lagos state was not friendly at all.”

Akpudje made his international debute for the Nigerian U23 side in March 2019, against Libya in an Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualification game.

Describing the feeling, he said, “I was so happy putting on the Nigeria Jersey for the first time, because I have been to the Golden Eaglet Camp more than six times, and its something I didn’t expect.”

He added that wearing Nigeria Jersey for the first time was a dream come through for him.

On his earlier days in his career, he revealed that he turned down Kano Pillars half a million monthly salaries offer, “because I was new to the Nigerian league and needed to work on myself so as to prepare for a better future ahead.”

This decision would later pay of as he finally gets to play, while wearing the highly reverend green-white-green Jersey.

On his future plans, Akpduje promised to give back to his community dwellers in Iyana Oworo area of Lagos State, where he grew where he grew, and Femmak football academy which showcased him to the world.

“I will definitely give back to the society and the hood where I come from. Iyana oworo, and Femmak football Academy.”

On March 3, 2020, before the lock down caused by the Covid-19 pandemic sets in, Akpudje completed a transfer to Latvian club, BFC Daugavpils, for an undisclosed fee.

He still nurses the ambition of one day playing for English Premiership Side, Manchester United, which he had loved since childhood.

He however urged young footballers like him never to stop working on themselves and believing in God for a breakthrough someday.

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