By Edmund Okai Gyimah
Talented Nigerian striker Patrick Friday Eze has said Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has been his mentor and is determined to reach the height of the Al Ain forward.
The Lagos-born attacker noted that the former Sunderland goal poacher has been an inspiration both on and off the pitch.
“I like him because he is a very good player with great character on the pitch and outside the pitch... and everyone tell me we look alike. He is really someone I try to learn from as an upcoming striker,” Eze told Goal Ghana.
Eze, who plays in Serbia for top division side Mladost Lucani FK, is relishing the chance of playing in the same club with the Ghanaian, who holds the record as the highest African goal scorer at the World Cup.
“I really hope that by the grace of God someday, somehow, and somewhere I am going to play alongside Gyan... I believe.”
Dream come true
As a lad playing on the streets of Kaduna, Eze has always nurtured the dream of playing professional football in Europe – the goal of almost every African players. But he made a clean breast that things have not been that easy as he initially thought.
“I have been here for one year and three months now, I must confess that it hasn't been easy at all. It feels great playing in Europe because this is the dream of every young African child but I have encountered some difficulties since I arrived here but I just keep my head up and hope for the better this coming season,” Eze noted.
One of the hugely talented young Nigerian forwards you can find in Europe, Eze who had previously made the cut for the Nigerian Under-17 team, is eyeing a call-up already to the Super Eagles ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
“I haven't represented my country in any level at all. I was with the U-17 in 2009 but couldn't make the team due to some reasons I wouldn't want to talk about. But I hope in the nearest future to get a call-up.”
At just 21, Eze has already won a laurel on the African continent by winning the Ivorian league with Africa Sports before moving to Europe.
He said: “I played for Ajiya Babes FC from Jigawa State in 2008 till 2009 before joining Zamfara United FC - a professional team playing in the top flight of the Nigerian Premier League.
“I played there for the first part of the season before a club from Ivory Coast came to ask for my signature. I left and signed for three years with Africa Sports of Abidjan where I was champion in my first season in 2011, from there I left for Napredak Krusevac in Serbia before joining my current team.”