We Interviewed Izuchukwu this month to fulfil our mission in highlighting people who achieved their dreams despite obstacles.
We caught up with the energetic footballer Izuchukwu Nwachukwu to find out about how he played with and maintained such a zest for life despite challenges.
Izuchukwu is a Nigerian who plays football for Turkish Club, Izmir BSB. He had a dislocation of the knee while playing football. It took him to several hospitals for treatment.
However, the doctors suggested amputation in 2001 due to complications. Despite this odd, he remained positive and focused in life.
Tell us why you became an athlete?
I became an athlete because I realised that from my early days, I have always loved football. When I was growing up, I’ll played street football, school football and so many others. So, I knew right from time that having God by my side, I would be a successful football player.
What can one achieve without divine providence? Nothing! How did you start playing for Turkey?
A player recommended me to the coach when I was in Nigeria. The coach invited me to join the National Team in Abuja. So, after some years, I got an offer to play here in Europe.
A bigger offer. We need the combination of divine providence, human’s assistance and hard work on our part to succeed. What was your first game in Turkey?
My first game in Turkey was against Pendik Amputee. At that time, I was playing for Istanbul Ozurluler Spor Kulubu.
Who supported you in your life the most?
My family has been my greatest support, most especially my Mum.
Your Mum must be swimming in the rivers of joy right now.
Yes, she is. She is super happy with everything.
Was there a time you thought you would fail in your career choice?
Definitely, there were times I had negative feelings. But that’s life. When things get rough, it brings an element of doubt.
So, how did you overcome it?
Prayers, dedication, hard work and discipline.
They say, ‘when the going gets tough, only the tough get going’. We can achieve a lot through prayers, you know? Talk to God when you feel down and see how He will uplift you beyond your expectations. He has promised to fortify us. The power of faith. Now, tell us please, what has been your biggest challenge?
‘My Biggest challenge’ ahh, l’ll say it was when I first migrated to Europe. It was quite difficult trying to force myself into the starting lineup; trying to prove my worth in another country. It was never easy.
Let me try to imagine myself in that situation (laughter). A young boy trying to fit into a system different from his home. Cultural differences, language barrier, the weather and probably isolation, to mention a few. ‘Difficult’ is an understatement to me. But you survived all obstacles, that’s the most important thing. I wouldn’t know who achieves anything by quitting. Who Is Your Greatest Inspiration? Tell me I am eager to hear (smiles).
(Smiles) My greatest inspiration is my Mum. She is dedicated and hardworking. She had an enormous influence on me.
Woman Power! I see the connection. I wonder Who Else should Be a Great Influence on Children if Not their Parents. Moms are Super heroes. But has being a footballer changed your life? Over the years, you have transcended with football. The street football differs from club football.
Well, being a professional footballer hasn’t really affected me. It hasn’t really changed who I am. Those who know me know the kind of person I am. The Izuchukwu who played at street level is still the same friendly and funny boy (laughs).
No doubt. I can attest to that (laughs). So, when you are not on the field, what do you do?
When I am not on the field training or playing football, I am on social media. Or I am in front of the TV watching football matches.
That’s basically what I do at my spare time except for the football aspect (laughs). I sleep off each time I try to watch football (Izuchukwu laughs). If you were not a footballer, what would you have become?
Maybe I’ll be an actor or a Sports Analyst because of my passion for sports.
Interesting. The latter is still in line with your career. What was your biggest game and why do you consider it as one?
My biggest game was a game we played against Pendik Engelliler in 2018. I was playing for Istanbul OzurluIer then. I didn’t start the game. I came in at the second half, but when I came in, I made the difference. My impart was felt greatly. I felt so good after the match.
Watch the match on You Tube Here
Certainly! You transform whatever you touch. Your weeks of training eventually paid off. I admire your zest for life. Many would have leverage on their present situation to depend on others for survival. Why did you do it differently?
I owe that to my parents for the kind of upbringing I received. My parents taught me a lot, queued in with God by my side. I had learnt early in my life that hard work and discipline pays. So, I was determined. It was never easy, but I didn’t give up.
(Claps) Lastly, what advice would you give to people out there?
My candid advice would be to always put God first in everything you do. And like I said before, work hard, be determined and be disciplined.
Thank you so much, Izuchukwu.
Dear readers, the story of Izuchukwu Nwachukwu has definitely helped us to see that no amount of challenges in life can stop us from achieving our dreams.
Dreams don’t come to reality except we put effort. God might not remove the problems we face, but he will never allow it to drown us.