Port Harcourt - Ivoirian marksman, Guy Kuemian Venance has
voiced his sentiments over claiming an unlikely Nigeria Professional Football
League (NPFL) title with Rivers United this season.
United currently occupies the summit of the NPFL standings
with three matches remaining.
Kuemian, who readily admits that getting their noses over
the line will be far from straightforward, is banking on grit and determination
to achieve set objectives.
“We have three games remaining and two of them are away from
home so it will be extremely difficult.
“I am however very confident that we can do it but everyone
must work harder than we have ever done this season to see that it happens.
“It is my dream to emerge champion in my first season in
Nigeria and now there are just three more matches to make it happen,” he said.
Early problems and settling in
Guy arrived Port Harcourt from Equato-Guinean club, Leones
Vegetarianos, a deal which was largely made possible after he impressed against
the now defunct Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt (coached by the present Rivers
United technical manager, Stanley Eguma) in the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup.
It was pretty much uncharted territory for the skilful
attacker who initially struggled to come to terms with his new surroundings.
The language barrier, homesickness, a new football culture
and niggling injuries almost put paid to a blossoming –new chapter in his
football education but perseverance carried him to safety.
Also read: Fed Cup: Rivers United beat Kaduna to advance
Kuemian readily admits that circumstances are a lot happier
for him right now.
“I suffered a lot when I first came to Nigeria but the coach
(Eguma) acted more like a father and helped me settle.
“He took special interest in me and always made sure I was
“Initially, I could not communicate with my teammates
because none of them could speak French (Kuemian is francophone due to his
Ivoirian roots) and I did not understand a word of English.
“Only Yaovi (United’s Togolese international defender,
Joseph Douhadji) could understand me because he speaks perfect French so he
ended up as my translator.
“Things are better on that front now because my English is
getting better and better every day.
“Staying away from my family was hard too because I am extremely
close to my Wife but I knew why I came to Nigeria so I had to stay strong and
fight,” he said.
The finish line is in sight
Kuemian is now just 270 minutes away from improbable league
glory with an unheralded NPFL side just eight months after he signed the dotted
lines for the club.
With trips to Bauchi and Uyo where United will play their
final two away games of the season against Wikki Tourists and Akwa United still
to be navigated, the Ivoirian knows it is time to roll up the sleeves.
United are notoriously poor travellers and are far from
favoured to claim any points in the two venues where away sides hardly get any joy.
Kuemian however says it is now or never for the ‘Pride of
“Wikki Tourists are probably the best side, tactically, in
the league this season so to go and win at their place will be almost
impossible, especially as they have not lost a single game at home all season.
“They are a very strong side that is also in the race to win
the title so getting a result in Bauchi will not be easy but we understand what
is required of us so we just have to go there and do what we have to do.
“Akwa United is also a very good side but we will not think
about them right now because in football, it is always wise to take one step as
“We will give this our best shot and see what happens,” he
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- News24 Nigeria