We speak with PEC Zwolle young talent Kingsley Ehizibue about the Netherlands’ shocking fall in world football and how his faith in Jesus helps him in his pro career.
Where did your love for the game come from?
“It started when I was young, I would always play football with my dad or my mum. One day I just told my father that I wanted to be a big player so I started at a club when I was five or six. I played there until I was about fourteen and then went to a professional club, PEC Zwolle. To this day I still play there.”
So you told your father that you wanted to make it big in the game, who was the dream club to play for back then?
“In those days Bayern Munich was always my dream club to play for and now, I just want to play in a big competition. That’s the dream for me, I don’t really have a dream club now but it’s just for me to play in the big competitions so that people can see what I can do there.”
You’ve already played for the Netherlands U21s which is a great achievement, how much does that international call-up drive you?
“Yes I think that’s the next step for me in what I want to achieve. I want to play in a big team but I also want to play, of course, for the national team. That’s also something important for me. Every little child wants to play for his national team.”
What’s going on with the national team at the moment, so much history but now struggling and the Netherlands won’t be at the World Cup in Russia? What’s going wrong?
“I think that’s a good question, we have a some really promising players that could have played at the World Cup, but now at the moment, it is really bad for the country, the team and the coaches. I can’t really get to the point of what’s really wrong but we just have to look forward and look at the players for the future, for that next World Cup.”
Players like you then Kingsley?
“I can’t say that for myself but yes you never know. Of course it is a dream for me and I work very hard to accomplish that moment.”
What’s one of the best things about playing football for a living?
“When I stand up, I’m with a football and when I’m asleep I’m with a football. It’s my job to play football but it’s also my daily joy. You have to work hard for it and sometimes it’s hard, mentally, but I can always have fun in it. That’s the nice thing and it’s so wonderful to me. I can let my mind go, let everything go and just play football.”
People often see football as a luxurious career, with all of the glamour and lifestyle, is it also tough at times?
“Yes you have the good side of football but also people don’t see, you have to work hard and people are always looking at you. They are waiting for you to do things wrong, have injuries and people always have an opinion about something. It’s not a happy story everyday and people don’t know that, they only see what you do on the field.”
So having said that, how much does your faith in Jesus help you as a pro footballer?
“It’s the basic thing, if I stand up I stand up with God and when I lie down I lie down with God. I always put him first in my life and that’s the most important thing I have to do. It helps me, it carries me and drives me through the day, I I pray for it. People will look at your attitude and if I do something wrong they will say that I believe in God, you say you are a Christian but you do this and say this. Sometimes when I play football my emotions and what I say or so is not what I meant and when I look back I regret it. I always want to treat someone well and to show people the love of Christ.”
So there are players around the Eredivisie and wider leagues that you can share your faith with?
“Yeah Jeffrey Sarpong who played in the Dutch league and now plays in Turkey. Fabian Sporkslede and Elson Hooi, they are the players and it’s nice to speak with the ‘Ballers In God’ group. We speak about our faith in Christ and we help each other.”
How do you use the platform that you have to tell others about your faith?
“On social media, when I speak with people I say that it’s not by my strength that I can do this but through Christ. He is here and we are doing it together. I have to work hard and believe in him more. I try to help people and talk about Christ with them and then on the pitch I want to be a good example.”
— Kingsley Ehizibue (@KingsleyEhizibu) October 29, 2017