By ANTHONY NLEBEM.
Adewunmi Mustakim, an 11-year-old student of Wahab Folawiyo Junior High School, Ikoyi, who grew up in the ever-busy and populated Isale Eko in Lagos Island spoke to PUNCH Sports Extra on how his elder brother motivated him in playing football at age seven.
The JSS 1 student, who plays as a striker is good with both legs but is more efficient playing with his right foot.
A very versatile player whose primary role is as a centre forward but can also play from the wings due to his pace and skills.
Like most talented footballers, the road to stardom begins with a step and Mustakim opened up on his journey to developing interest in football.
“My name is Adewunmi Mustakim, I am 11 years old and am a student of Wahab Folawiyo Junior High School. I have been playing ball for over four years now,” the young lad told PUNCH Sports Extra.
“My elder brother plays football and I enjoy watching him play and that motivated me to want to play football.”
At his tender age, the young chap has been able to find balance between combining his education and playing football.
He said, “It’s been very tough, when I close from school in the afternoon, I rest a bit and go for training in the evening.”
Mustakim’s hails from a family where everyone supports Manchester United, and he idolises Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo for his skills and goal-scoring instinct.
“I want to be like Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Manchester United star because he is a fantastic player, scores a lot of goals and can create problems for the defence and also returns to cover up when his team loss possession.
” I love Manchester United because it is the team that plays good football and has plenty of stars and I would also like to play for them when the opportunity comes, but will also consider offers from other clubs in Europe.”
Charity they say begins at home and for the young energetic and power-playing striker, despite his love for Ronaldo, his admiration for Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa cannot be overemphasised.
“I love Ahmed Musa for his pace and skills on the ball, ” the 11-year-old said.
Unlike a host of Nigerian parents, the teenager has enjoyed massive supports from his parents ever since he found love playing football.
“My parents supported me when I told them that I wanted to play football. They bought me my first pair of boots and other training kits I used to practice. Any time I misplace my kits, they quickly buy me another set of kits,” Mustakim said.
The JSS 1 student also highlighted the role his coach played to ensure he becomes a better player since he started training with him four years ago.
“My coach taught me how to hold the ball, control and make good passes and that has helped me improve as a footballer.”
Ibrahim Omotosho, the man that discovered Mustakim and the coach of Striker Bally Football Academy has been nurturing the 11-year-old for four years, says how the youngster has become a better player.
“I have been coaching Mustakim for four years now and since I started with him, he has become a better player and has gotten more experience and is good in attack and he has a football brain, ” Omotosho told PUNCH Sports Extra.
Omotosho revealed how Mustakim had disturbed his parents that he wanted to play football and that prompted them to bring him to his club.
“It’s the parent that brought him to my club after telling his parents that he wanted to play football and because of that, they brought him to my team and have been supporting him to see him become a better player.”
“Since joining the team, he has won some laurels and last year he won the 2022 Headmaster Cup played at the Campus mini stadium where he scored four goals.”
He also expressed confidence that Mustakim will play for the national team if he continues to train hard.
“It’s not been easy training these young players, but as a coach, you have to be patient with them and talk to them very well, because of their age.
“Most times they forget the instructions I give them, but I have to keep calling them and keep reminding them.
“Mustakim is a talented player and I believe in him that he can play for the national team in the future because he is passionate about football and wants to play and his mind is on becoming a star for Nigeria.”