By Olisemeka Obeche
Brown Ideye rediscovers his goal-scoring form after a poor start at West Brown
Nigeria’s and West Brom striker, Brown Ideye who has been in sensational scoring form after enduring a torrid start to his football career in the Barclays Premier League in England recently spoke about his journey from Lagos, Nigeria to West Bromwich Albion in England.
The Nigerian international, who left his home at 16 to pursue a career in football against his mother’s wishes, likened his frustrating start at the West Midlands’ club to the hard-start to his career in his early teen including the loss of his father which he overcame. Banned from playing football by his mother at the age of 14 over fears he would get caught up with criminal gangs on the streets of Lagos, Ideye refused to give up and today he looks back with great satisfaction for being a great overcomer. He recounts: “It’s hard growing up in Lagos. There is always a story to tell in a city like that. My friends were involved in crazy stuff. They were bad boys of the area. I was picked up once by the police.
“My mum stopped me going out with them. She was upset. Each time I told her I wanted to play football she would say, “No you’re going to be with your friends.”
Ideye was sent to live with his aunt but eventually ran away to train with his old coach and finally told his mum he wanted to make a 200-mile trip to Bayelsa State to play regularly. “She didn’t accept. That’s how I left. I went to Bayelsa State then Ocean Boys. Then bam, bam, bam.”
From Ocean Boys of Bayelsa, Ideye headed to Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland and later Sochaux in France before finally being snapped by Dynamo Kiev, a club he bagged 33 goals in 74 games and earned most of his 24 international caps for Nigeria.
Once he had signed professional forms, Ideye patched up his relationship with his mum. Tears flowed. “When I got the contract in Switzerland I went back home, sat with my family and had breakfast, dinner, lunch, everyone was happy.
“Afterwards she called me into her room and said, “I’m sorry about everything, your dad is late and I am the only person who can guide you. I looked at what your friends were doing and believed if I left you that is how you’d become.” I said, “I get that.” She started crying. She could not believe she tried to stop me becoming what she is enjoying today.”
Ideye who arrive England from Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine last summer as West Brom’s £10million record buy man was on the verge of a cut-price deal on deadline day to Qatar side Al-Gharafa following an injury plagued starts. He recounted his struggle to deliver on a hefty price tag that came with his signing. “I took a lot of time to adapt,” he admits. “I was overwhelmed that I am the record signing. I put a lot of pressure on myself. People are not patient. The game doesn’t turn out the way I want, I become frustrated, I keep on pushing when I am supposed to calm down. Things were going so fast.”
However, the 26 year-old forward has experienced a dramatic turn-around that saw him netting a brace in West Brom’s 4-0 demolition of West Ham United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. After his four goals in three matches exploits, the Nigerian international is looking forward to using his new-found scoring form to fire the Baggies past Aston Villa in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday and secure a semi-final showdown in Wembley.
And the former Ocean Boys star has promised to bring his mother to England to watch him play in the FA Cup finals in Wembley should West Brom qualify for the epic match. “I want us to get to the final. If we do then I can arrange it.”