By Obi Odenigbo
Football (or Soccer- depending on what part of the Atlantic you live in) may have become the major sport in England and Scotland as far back as 1872, but today it has reached worldwide prominence- with over 209 countries actively engaged in the sport. It presents a valuable lifeline for most third world countries. So it has come as no surprise that it has constituted the dreams of millions of young people the world over and has lifted thousands out of poverty.
NoCoolStory is in the business of celebrating the success stories of these talented youngsters. We tell the untold stories of these diamonds in the dirt and sing the songs of these unsung heroes.
One of such heroes is talented Nigerian prospect Martins Davies– who started playing the “beautiful game” with his peers on the unpaved streets of West African suburbs. He honed his talent and continues to exhibit superior ball control, soccer aptitude and dexterity. These unique qualities caught- not only NoCoolStory- but the eyes of Hungarian side INTER CDF who immediately snatched up the mercurial talent.
And don’t get me wrong; there are several African talents plying their trade in Europe, but Martins stands out due to the fact that he is actively pursuing his Master’s Degree as well as runs his own company as CEO (IT consultancy Company Goziex Technologies Limited). The potent combination of school, talent and business underline the focus of this young man. He continues to demonstrate that growing up in the trenches of poverty stricken sub-Saharan Africa and playing on the unpaved roads of Lagos have nothing to do with what heights kids in third world countries can ascend.
NoCoolStory caught up with him and here are excerpts of our conversation with this jack-of-all trade.
You’re called Obagool or Martins Davies, What really is the right way to address you?
(Laughs)Yeah, been fondly called Obagool by my fans and team mates because to them I play more like him(Obafemi Martins) and have pace, even when I first came to Europe , a European once saw me play in one of the relaxation fields and told me I remind him of Obafemi Martins and took a picture of me. I don’t really see much of what they see but the truth be told, he is a world class striker and I admire to be like him one day and even achieve greater than he has in recent years and be one of Africa’s great like Samuel E’too of Chelsea FC and Yaya Toure of Manchester City FC. Well, I decided to add Martins officially to my name because it motivates me along with it when I play, the right address Is Chigozie Davies Iyiegbu
Stories have it that your parents turned down an offer for you to go for professional trial for clubs such as Enyimba FC of Aba, when you were younger? Any truth to those stories? And did you agree with their decision? Did you even get a chance to have a say in the matter?
Yes, I had an opportunity to go for trials at the Enyimba FC club of Aba. Enyimba FC being 2 times CAF Champions league winners back to back in a historic fit that saw them defeat the likes of Al haly of Egypt and the Etoile du sahel of Tunisia, It was definitely a tempting opportunity any upcoming footballer at that time will grab but it needed a lot of thinking and decision making on my part and my family, as at the time their club chairman, Felix Anyasi Agwu was a family friend, he knew my mom. It was a decision I was fully part of.
Then I called Mr. Felix and he said to me I can come for professional trials sometime in august and that if i needed to play for Enyimba that my contract might restrict me from traveling out, as they were playing in the CAF champions League then. I wasn’t entirely happy but I had to go to school, and more importantly, I had to finish school. That was the reason I turned down the Enyimba chance. School first, football later. At that time, that made sense.
Were there any other clubs or opportunities like that?
Every Footballer has a tale, it wasn’t just Enyimba FC that I had an opportunity to go for trials with. I was also in Enugu sometime at the Rangers FC stadium with an agent, a chance to go for trials too in Poland and Italy an opportunity to advance my football. In fact I had numerous opportunities which will one day be an inspiration for others. I believe that to achieve a lot in football you have to take a bold step, Separate that thin line between social conformity and your personal ideologies, Choose who you want to be and how you want to go about it. I am not a star yet, but my future is bright and the star is shining (Laughs)
“I bought my first pair of football boots for N1, 000 Naira at Katagwan Market in Lagos haha. My first training with a football club was a funny experience, I scored 2 goals but I knew I was lacking the strength….(SMILES) but I was given a chance because the coach then for Bravo G FC “coach Emeka”, saw in me a potential which he says reminds him of “Obafemi Martins” of the Super Eagles because of my pace.” but i think i am different from obagol, I am pacy just like him but there is more difference in my football , we play different positions. His my role model
You represented your school Caritas University in the CAPMHIGA Games 2009, which you were rated one of the best in the competition and has been nominated on 3 occasions as the Caritas footballer of the year which you won on one instance, what has been your transition from just a best player for a university to a professional footballer?
It was an amazing experience, it had all the settings of professionalism, I saw in me a professional and as such i played with the mindset of one. I have never doubted my potential as a good footballer but i always let people be the judge, the award was a motivation then, the school team was like a family, the caritas league was a standard league with football teams getting sponsorships from rich students and officials. It wasn’t just a league, It was one with a difference, tough and challenging, the pressure to perform week in, week out was there. The team i played for then Asencio FC was 3 times champions of the league and 3 times runners up. One of the best. I also won the bronze medal at the CAPMHIGA higher institution games
You also represented Lagos State, at the National Youth Service Corp, DG’S Cup, Which you put up an average display, what was it like seeing your game at that level?
During the NYSC, i was injured but I was glad i was in the list, i got the opportunity to play 2 of our group stage matches. It wasn’t the best of my performances but again, this is football, you always have your day. It was worth it. If I wasn’t good, I won’t be in the squad
How has it been moving for Inter CDF so far in the BLSZ League in Europe?
Inter is a strong team, diversified with strength in all departments and made up foreign based players as well as local Hungarians, so far in the league we have put up a good fight and hope to remain in this level, it’s our first season in this level and we are aware of the requirements and we are looking forward to getting everything back on track when the league resumes this year, as we are currently on break.
For the full interview, grab the next paperback edition of NOCOOLSTORY
YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK, WATCH A GLIMPSE OF DAVIES HERE!tweet