Newly promoted Doma United striker, Charles Chibuike, scored on his debut for the Gombe side on match-day one of the NPFL. In this interview with CHIMA AZUBUIKE, the footballer, talks about his striking resemblance to Napoli star Victor Osimhen, career, family and more
Can you give us your brief background?
My name is Chibuike Charles Samson from Enugu State but born and brought up in Minna, Niger State. I am 19 years old. I studied Social Development AT Kaduna Polytechnic. I completed my National Diploma and after that I started my HND programme, which I couldn’t complete. I played football for my school but I wasn’t serious about it then because I felt education should be first. But on realising that I could do other things apart from schooling, I took football serious.
You scored for Doma United on your NPFL debut. How did it feel grabbing the headlines?
I feel privileged and happy to be in Doma United. I feel so happy about our victory and I this is just the starting point for me to work harder, not to relax.
Not much is known about your football career…
(Cuts in) I started in Minna, Pakungo precisely. I started playing football at three. Whenever I went out to play football my mother would be upset with me, and she would not serve me food. She was afraid of me getting hurt because there were bruises all over my legs and she felt I was just wasting my time. So, she always tried to stop me from playing, but despite all the challenges I still kept the fire burning in me. When I started playing I didn’t have boots of my own, I used my barefoot to play football. After that I went to Kaduna to visit someone and he advised me to go to to school at Dosa Academy in Kaduna. The man believed in me, he built my confidence and took me to different states in Nigeria and I played with so many teams. I played in Ibadan, but it did not work out well. Even after giving my best and scoring four goals on the first day, I was not selected.
I kept trying my best but it wasn’t working, so I concluded that the place was not meant for me, so I returned to Lagos. I played amateur football in Lagos and met a man nicknamed Chop Money, a football agent in Lagos. He took me to Depros FC in Lagos and that was where I started building my career. After a while, I left there for Enugu. Then I joined Abia Comets to play pro, during the pre-season I played different matches with them.
I also played with Abia Warriors. I came on in the second half while we were down 2-0 but scored twice to equalise. I met another football agent and he helped me and took me to the Premier League with MFM in Lagos. I had fans at MFM, some said I am osimhen’s brother because we lookalike and I was so excited. Throughout my screening process I kept scoring for my them and they retained me. During the second season I was always on the bench, I hardly played. I didn’t know where the problem came from and somehow i regretted why I agreed to stay with them and wished I was in Abia Comets.
Why did you opt to join Doma United FC?
I opted to join Doma because they are a newly promoted club and I believe something good is coming out of Doma; and I’m not regretting anything. I had played a pre-season match for Gombe United FC but couldn’t continue with them due to some reasons.
What are your objectives for the season?
My objective for the season is to give my best and score as many goals as I can.
As a striker, have you set any goals target for yourself this season?
I set goals target for myself anytime I set my foot on the field, I want to score at least four goals.
You have a striking resemblance with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. How does this make you feel?
It makes me happy that I have a striking resemblance with Osimhen. I didn’t notice it but when I arrived Kaduna, people asked if I was Osimhen. I always told them no. It got to an extent that when people saw me in the market or other public places, they would rush and start snapping pictures with me, including non-Nigerians.
Have you been mistaken for him before?
I have some few embarrassing moments because of my resemblance to Osimhen. Sometimes guys will jokingly ask me to question my mum because of the resemblance and this makes me feel bad sometimes. Some have asked if my mother took in for Osimhen’s father, but I always let them know that my mother will not do such thing.
Does Osimhen inspire you with his goals and do you model your game after his?
Osimhen inspires me a lot; people say I play like him but the truth is I hardly watched him then. When I started, I challenged myself to work hard and play like him because he is a very good player, but I still believe I can do better.
How tough is the Nigeria Premier Football League?
The NPFL is tough because everyone is depending on you to give your best, so, imagine what will happen when you are not giving your best. One needs to work harder because I don’t want to disappoint my fans.
CHAN is ongoing and Nigeria didn’t qualify. How does this make you feel?
It hurts me that Nigeria couldn’t qualify for CHAN. I always want to play for my country and I know definitely a day will come that I will tell some people that they could have given me a chance long ago. I wish my country qualified and I was there to help them by scoring goals.
If you were not a football player, what would you have been?
I’ll be a dancer if were not a footballer because I love dancing, particularly leg work. Whenever I score a goal, I dance. After football, dancing is one of my best hobbies; my family members are good dancers too.
What are your best and worst career moments?
The best moment of my career was on January 15, after I scored on my Doma debut; the love was so much and I couldn’t even sleep; I was so excited. My worst times are days that I couldn’t find anything to eat, days that I begged for food and days that I couldn’t send money to my mother.
What is your message to your fans?
To my fans everything I am saying here is nothing but the truth. I’ve suffered a lot and seeing me were I am today is by God’s help and so many people around me. I want to appreciate everybody, especially those that fed me and impacted one or two things in my life because without them I could not have been where I am today. God bless my fans, they keep pushing me because the more they believe in me, the more I believe in myself. I want to thank my managers, my family, media and everybody. I really appreciate their love.