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UBONG EKPAI’S QUEST FOR GOALS

UBONG EKPAIby Ukpong UKPONG
Aside scoring the spectacular lone goal that saw Super Eagles soaring over the Brazilian national team during a recent international friendly, soccer sensation Ubong Ekpai, continues to inspire his club, Akwa United FC, to several home and away wins with rain of goals.
To him scoring goals in every match is a personal target he trains hard both inside and outside the pitch to achieve.
‘My career in football is about working, working and working hard especially while in the pitch. If I’m not scoring goals I feel I have not done anything’, he says.
So, he lines out a cocktail of regimented training which he strictly follows not leaving out a close relationship with God which gives him discipline to achieve more successes.
‘Personally, I have a strict training schedule aside the one organized by the club. It’s also important to get closer to God because He is the one helping me’.
Ubong is not alien to discipline in sports. In fact he thrives in it; having been introduced right from his primary school days at Success Pillar, Uyo, where he earned a scholarship because of playing football.
Afterwards, at West Itam Secondary School, Ekit Itam 2, he developed endurance and fitness jogging several kilometers from his home at Nsikak Eduok Avenue to school at Itam every school day. There too, he was awarded scholarship after a fantastic display during inter-house sports outing.
Even as a young child, Ubong dreamed of becoming a soccer superstar and made sure he imbibed every tactics offered by children soccer clubs he played with.
‘I had early training to become a professional soccer player. Some of the teams I played in while growing up include Ekpatex of Nung Oku under Coach Macarnakey and Macito Citroen FC.
‘All my coaches encouraged me to work hard and focus, telling me that I am a born star. This really helped me to move forward in my career’.
His break into professional football finally came while playing the Governor’s Challenge Cup with AKPF FC, a soccer club organized by a popular youth political movement in the state few years ago.
‘After the event, I received invitation by Akwa Starlet and became the highest goal scorer in that season and the club did well in the league’.
He has since played for Akwa United, Gateway Feeder team in Abeokuta, Kano Pillars, gone for trials outsider the country and is presently holding fort for Akwa United.
‘I know my talent is from God, all I need from coaches is training in tactics and strategy but for the talent, it is intrinsic and I’m determined to work very hard to attain my goals in life’.
Paramount among these life goals is to play in the European League in the near future.
‘When we arrived in Brazil for the international friendly, I got to interact with Neymar for over five minutes. He encouraged me to work hard that I could play better than him one day, this has become my dream’.
Ubong believes the Dakkada philosophy is a vital force, giving boost to young people in state.
‘Personally, Dakkada is an advice to keep improving and working harder in my career. It also encourages one to arise and go forward despite momentary setback and I believe every youth of Akwa Ibom State must dare to dream big and work hard to attain that dream.’

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