Nigeria Premier League veteran, Jonah Abutu, currently plies his trade for Moldavian first division side, Speranța Nisporeni, after playing for the like of Enyimba, Bayelsa United, Lobi Stars, Dolphins and Sharks in the Nigerian Premier League. In this interview with The Point’s UCHENNA AJAH, the 26-year-old midfielder, who enjoyed limited appearances for the home-based Super Eagles, speaks on his targets for 2016, the African Nations Championship in Rwanda, and other football-related issues. Excerpts:
How has life been since you moved to Europe?
Life has been moving fine since my move to Moldova, but the weather here is extremely cold. At the moment, I’m coping.
Tell us more about your new club
I play for CSF Speranta Nisporeni where I signed a two-year contract last year. We are in the first division. Currently, we are in the fourth position and we are working on getting a spot for Europa League next season.
What are the major differences you’ve noticed since the move to the Moldovan league?
The Moldovan league is better than what we have in Nigeria. Some may argue the other way but I must confess it is much better than what we have in Nigeria. It is well organised in every aspect and we have former Nigerian stars who have been here in the past. They can attest to this fact too.
After playing for Bayelsa United, Sharks, Enyimba, Lobi Stars, among other teams in the Nigerian topflight, what are you hoping to gain by playing in Europe?
You see, the style of play here is different from what is obtainable in Nigeria, both tactically and physically. Therefore, I’m looking forward to improving more as a player.
Three of the teams you played for in the past, Bayelsa United, Sharks and FC Taraba, were all relegated at the end of the 2014/15 campaign in the NPL. How do you feel about this development?
It is very sad, especially with Bayelsa United, because I won the league with them in 2009. As for Sharks, I regard their base in Port Harcourt as my second home.
What would be your advice to the club owners as we prepare for the new season this year, knowing that life in the lower division is even tougher than the NPL?
They should encourage the players that are going to play. Secondly, they must set up a good welfare package that will push them to give their best at all times. Above all, they must be focused and disciplined. This will see them return to the topflight in no distant time. As for FC Taraba, I was among the players being owed. If I was in Nigeria, I would have joined the protest to the government house in Jalingo too. I joined Speranta in November but the deal was sealed since August so I don’t even know how much FC Taraba owed me before I left. All the previous arrangements we had were scattered in the process.
Before you got to Moldova, you had the same jersey number you used at Dolphins waiting for you at Moldova. Was this deliberate?
I don’t really know. The president called me and informed me that he kept No 14 jersey, the same number I used in Dolphins for me and I said no problem. So, the number 14 jersey was kept for me before I arrived.
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