He is just twenty-four; but the footballing journey of Nigerian winger Imoh Ezekiel has already taken him round five different countries in three continents of the world.
From Lagos, Nigeria to Belgium’s top sides, this dazzling star has looked for where to call home but seems to have now found one in the Canary Islands.
Ezekiel, a Bronze Medal winner from the last summer Olympics in Rio joined struggling LaLiga side Union Deportivas Las Palmas in January with the double hope of assisting the modest side to beat the dreaded drop and also begin the process of carving a niche for himself in Southern Spain.
We visited him at his new base recently and the cheery attacker is delighted to be playing in “one of the best leagues”.
“For me, it’s a great honour (to play in La Liga), Ezekiel told www.aclsports.com
“It’s a great feeling to play in this league which is one of the best leagues in the world and to play against some of the best players in the world.”
Speaking of playing against some of the world’s best players, Imoh’s Las Palmas side will begin their final bid to escape relegation this weekend with a home tie against European champions Real Madrid. Games do not come bigger than that.
With Imoh at the same club in Spain are two of his compatriots who have enjoyed good success with the national teams. Striker Emmanuel Emenike also joined in January as also Ogenekaro Etebo – who is heading to Russia for the World Cup, injury permitting -. Imoh says it brings a family feeling for him to have them around.
“For one team to have three Nigerians, it’s just like we are family so when we come to the training, we talk and it’s just like you’re at home.
“You’re in training and you can speak with somebody, not even in English; like our normal pidgin. It makes everything kind of easy and cool.”
Imoh has so far struggled for playing time at his new club but he is happy to have made his debut for the team and hopes that more games will come before the end of the season.
“The first game was against Sevilla. It’s always like this in a new team. First you don’t have the full confidence but you just have to take it step by step. But for me I felt much better to play the first game and I think with time I will get more playing time and I think it (UD Las Palmas) is a team I can progress in.”
In comparing the previous leagues he has played in with the prestigious La Liga, the response was expected. Nothing beats the competition and honour that playing in Spain brings. Imoh Ezekiel compared comprehensively and expects Spain to be his home, henceforth.
“The clubs I played in Belgium are also as good (as in Spain) and have very good conditions to train because I played at Standard Liege and Anderlecht where we played the Europa League against Tottenham and the likes. They have good conditions too.
“The main thing about this Las Palmas is that; this is La Liga.
“It is different from the Belgian league or Turkish league. You play against the best players, the best teams so it is different from the others.
Asked categorically if he hopes to settle in Spain. He was quick to answer:
“Yeah I’m hoping to settle here.”
You can catch up on the first part of our session with Imoh Ezekiel here: https://www.aclsports.com/10535-2/