U-23 Eagles 2012 Olympics Qualification Failure Ruined My Euro Career — Ajiboye
By Sab Osuji
Dele Ajiboye has exclusively told Orient Sports that U23 Eagles inability to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games billed for London ruined his Europe career.
Ajiboye is the first choice goalkeeper of Nigeria Champions, Plateau United and he’s hoping to fight his way back to the national team reckoning as well as a chance to return to Europe with good performance and result in the 2020/2021 CAF Champions League on the colours of the Tin City side.
The dark skinned shot stopper spoke to Orient Sports on the side lines of the concluded Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Preseason Tournament concluded in Aba at the weekend.
“Before the qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Games, I was keeping for Pontevedra of Spain”, starts Ajiboye.
“I signed two years contract with them. My contract was running out then and I was very optimistic that we would qualify for the Olympics so I decided not to renew it. My reason was that playing in the Olympics as a free agent would facilitate a better contract for me from bigger clubs during the Olympics.
“But how wrong I was because, we eventually did not qualify. At that point, I forwarded my papers to the club for a new deal but they told me it was already late and that they have already signed a new goalkeeper”.
Ajiboye said he had to return to the domestic NPFL for a new beginning, hoping to relaunch his career in a bid to attract a new offer in Europe.
“I signed for 3SC (2013), later moved to Nasarawa United (2014-2015), Warri Wolves (2016) and here I’m today with Plateau United”, remonstrates Ajiboye.
“I believe playing in the NPFL again would offer me the opportunity to relaunch myself to the national team and of course, back to Europe.
“I’m still working hard, waiting patiently for the opportunity to come. Yes, Plateau United will be representing Nigeria in the CAF Champions League. It is one big competition which every player aspires to feature in aside the National Team.
“Our target is to do well in the championship, much more than we did the last time and I believe too that it could provide a window for me to be scouted by European clubs. I’m still young and believe I still have more years to give to the game”.
Ajiboye has had spells in the home base Super Eagles. He was in goal in 2018 CHAN final in Morocco when the hosts pummeled CHAN Eagles 4-0 to deny Nigeria a first CHAN title.
But he refuses to admit that was the sore point of his career so far.
“The saddest moment so far in my career was during the 2019/2020 NPFL season when I conceded three goals at Abia Warriors”, Ajiboye said.
“Not that I’ve not conceded three goals before, I remember conceding four goals in Morocco during the 2018 CHAN final. It’s the circumstances that makes it my worst moment.
“It was the first time I would conceed three goals in a league match without a reply. If it were 3-1, 3-2 or stuffs like it would have appeared respectable but 3-0 is a result I cannot explain”.
The 30-year-old shot stopper with three caps would beam with smiles when asked about his happiest moment in his career so far.
“No doubt, that was in 2007 when we won the FIFA U17 World Cup in Korea”, Ajiboye replied with joy.
“That moment when we beat Spain in the final 3-0 on penalty kicks. It was unbelievable. Till date, the gold medal is still in my house and I kept it so I would show it to my kids when they grow up that this is what your dad achieved in football”.