Nigerian born footballer, Prince Adedeji Mayungbe has definitely done well for himself in his footballing career. He started from Sunshine FC, A Nigerian club before moving to Germany where he currently plays.
No doubt, apart from making a name for himself, he can be regarded as one of those making the country proud.
The Journey hasn’t been an easy one, just like every player, he has passed through several phases in life before he got to the level he is now.
In this interview with Bamidele Adeyemi of Conquest magazine/Online, he opened up on his childhood, his royal background, his challenges and his private life.
Can you tell us more about yourself ?
My name is Adedeji Prince Mayungbe. I am 27 years old, based in Germany, presently playing in Malta
Can you take us through your journey into football ?
The journey has been really tough but today, I give thanks to God. It all started from grassroots football and from there back to school; after school, I joined Sunshine Football Club in Nigeria and after Sunshine FC, I proceeded to Oulun Palloseura FC in Finland then I moved to Germany where I played in their fourth and third league before I transferred to Malta.
Which club are you currently playing ?
My club ‘Sliema FC’ is presently on Malta League but, I am on loan to TSV Schwieberdingen in Germany for six months.
What is your playing experience in Germany ?
It is very much challenging; as a foreign and a black player. You don’t even understand their language. After training; I have to go to school to learn the language because most of the players speaks German. All glory to GOD; today, I could speak the language up to 80 percent.
Some says any Nigerian footballer playing in Europe must have made name from the National level; have you had any connection playing for the Super Eagles ?
Right from the beginning, I have always wanted to serve my father’s land; I want to wear my national colour but, during the U-17, the whole process was really challenging; you know, if you don’t have someone at corridor of power in Nigeria; you can’t get there. Since the limitation persists; I jetted out of the country, I felt playing for the National team and playing abroad is also the same thing. Sometimes, when you’re playing for the National team; you get lots of condemnation, as for me; I just want to do what I love doing best, get my money and take care of my family.
If you are invited to play for National Team, would you honour the call ?
Of course yes, I will! As much as I am still carrying the Nigerian passport; I am a Nigerian. Though German by chance.
If both Countries desired your service, which would you prefer to sweat for ?
If I am called up by both teams, I would choose Nigeria; I love Nigeria with all my heart.
What position do you play and can you tell us one of your best moments so far ?
I am a striker. One of my best moments so far was when I scored my first goal under nine minutes; we were playing against Stuggart. For the bad moments, two years ago after signing my contract with Sliema FC of Malta, I got injured in my first game for the club. It was really bad and my career was threatened; for almost 12 months, I could not play but, all thanks to God; I was able to come back.
How many years do you think you have left to play ?
I still have close to 10 years to play football then I can now focus on other things. I still really want to study more; I want to study ‘Sport Science’ because I want to be a coach or a football agent.
In most cases, Nigerian parents don’t support their children to play football especially when they are at tender age, what was your experience ?
I grew up with my dad, he is not always there but I had a step mother. Whenever I went out to play football; it is always one problem or the other. It would be either I don’t get my feeding money or I have to starve for a week; we were all on his payroll. My dad gives us feeding money once a week (weekly). Sometimes, when I have training in Yaba, I would go through Onikan, walk through the third mainland bridge. I was doing this for the passion; it is what I love doing but I would get home at night to receive strokes of cane. Now, the same father is really proud of me, he would wear my jersey, he would go extra miles to get anything when my name is written on it, he is now really proud of me.
At that phase future footballers do have this torment experience, there is always a drive helping them through. What kept on motivating you despite the backlash ?
The drive pushing me then was what I saw some of the players doing, how people celebrate the; then, Nigerian team was everywhere. And my late sister; may her soul rest in perfect peace. She really tried for me and she kept on telling me to follow my heart desire.
Every successful personality in any profession normally have someone they look up to, who inspires you ?
My idol then was Thierry Henry because of his pattern of play. Though, I am not a skillful player; but I belief so much in writing the exam and getting the result, I don’t belief in skills on pitch but I always trust and hungry for goals which is the main result of any football match. For now, I just want to look up to myself. The player that inspires me now is Zlatan Ibramhovic, I love Obafemi Martins and I love my friend, Lukman Haruna. Lukman has been a wonderful guy and a great player, when we met; the chemistry was there, I felt for his story and I just wanted to keep him as my friend. We talk almost every day.
What does money mean to you ?
Money is not everything but everything needs money. Money is important but not to be flaunting it and makes others who are less privileged feels they are not doing anything or working hard. Some have money and they are being braggart about it; others looking at you would feel they are not doing well and this triggers some people to delve into what they are not supposed to do. These kind people engage in so many criminal activities to get money. For me, I believe in giving back to the society when you are loaded, give to the less privileged; let them understand that you don’t have the money for yourself alone. What would you achieve by driving luxurious cars while people are suffering? This is why I made it a priority to always visit the less privileged home whenever I’m in Nigeria and I also mandated my father to always do the same every year.
We hear stories of footballers going broke after making lots of money; do you learn anything from that ?
I have learnt a lot from that. Sometimes, it gets so uncalled for; for example, you have E500,000 and out of it you can’t invest, all you want is luxury; go to club to squander the money, that is why Western people say ‘Education is importance of life.’ There is no way you can have such money and you allow yourself to get broke again. I always tell the junior boys anytime I’m talking to them; that if they have the money, they should not put all their hope in one basket, there are many ways they can invest and get back their income. And if you don’t have knowledge about the business of your choice; you can pay people to put you through not by buying luxurious cars, spending on lesser priorities; which are not investment; you don’t want to come down from your zenith. Football isn’t something you can do for life, it’s a profession that expires, and your value reduces the more you get older. When you have been spending 1,000 or 2,000 Euros in a day, your value is coming down, and you still want to live up to standard, this is what makes footballers go broke.
You made mention of your Dad being a King, most people don’t know that, can you tell us more about your background ?
I came from a royal family on both sides, my father’s lineage are the Odemo Of Ishara in Ogun state, while my mother is from Ondo state, Owo; they calls them Ojomo Amaka. My father is the third heir to the throne from my family which makes him the 53rd king to be on the throne. He is a first class king; so, it’s not something you say; you have to be a predecessor, other people or families are there, it’s not a solely monarchy.
How many siblings do you have ?
I have nine siblings, I’m the number Three
Every footballer is known to always aspire to play in a particular club, where do you see yourself playing in the nearest future ?
I just want to play in one of the best clubs, either in Bundesliga or anywhere else. I focus on scoring goals, I can say I want to play in Real Madrid and at the end of the day it doesn’t count, it would be a big slap to my dream.
What are the characters of a good footballer on pitch ?
I think for any footballer to be on the pitch; you must first study the game, you must look out for what your opponents are doing, you don’t have to look to much, you should be able to control your emotions, no racism word, you don’t play with anger because when you do; you have already destroyed the companion your team have on the field and lastly, you should be able to dominate your opponent.
What are the dos and don’ts of footballers aside being on the pitch ?
You must always guide your utterances, you must respect yourself, you don’t have to say it all, and you must do things respectively. Don’t show people who you truly are because when they know; there would be no more respect.
Are you married ?
No, but I have a daughter, she is Princess Alisha, she is an half-cast from Germany, she is one of the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, she is five years. I guess I will be bringing her to Nigeria soon. (General laughs)
You are an handsome man, no doubt. How do you cope with ladies as a celebrity ?
Big question! Sometimes, it is really discouraging. My usual experience with them; they’ll come around, and give you a piece of paper and when you open it; what you find there are contact numbers or asking for a date. I always tell them; I may be single but I am not searching, I have been really blunt to some of them, sometimes, I fake a wedding ring because of pressure. Fornication is one of the most tantalizing things that can destroy destiny. Someone said and I quote, ‘the only way to avoid temptation is to fall for it’, sometimes if you fall for it as a footballer; it could be the end of your career. You don’t know the person you are climbing, you don’t know if her spirit goes with yours.
What is the craziest thing a female fan has done to you ?
The craziest was after a match against Swineford FC In Bayern I guessed. The lady was with her husband or boyfriend; I was by a side granting an interview after our match. And she asked the husband if she can kiss me; I was shocked because I heard her as I was being interviewed. She said Hi to me as she was with her husband; I just heard the Husband answered ‘Yea’, I was thinking it would be just a hug but she kissed me. I was shocked to bone; I had to confusedly end the interview. Even, let’s imagine her husband was not there, such doesn’t have to happen. The thing is when they love you; they love you to the bone, when they don’t, you can’t change that.
Where do you see yourself in the next one year ?
I see myself in the top light; I’m back and I am completely back, I am coming in like a tiger and I want to end it like a lion.
If you had not being a footballer, what would you have been doing ?
From the beginning, my father has always shown love for education, he wants everyone to go to school, if I had not being a footballer, maybe I would have been lecturing by now because then, most of my mates say they want to be a teacher and lecturer and truly, some are actually in that field. My love for military was really high; my father was an ex-military man.
You dress very well, what informs your fashion statement ?
When I relocated to Germany, I was into modeling, I am modeling for one of the top modeling companies over there, I did one in Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, one was for Bosch, and other one was for a clothing line in American express. As time went on, I felt like I should take my football career seriously because jobs were not coming. Though, my contract is still on with them; sometimes, they call me for jobs but I don’t belief in ‘sometime job’; I belief in what I do every time.
If I search through your wardrobe, what would be the most expensive thing in there ?
The most expensive things you will find are my wristwatches. Sometimes if I am getting a new one, I give out the old one. In Denmark where I once played, I was sitting at the train station and someone came asking for help; and the person who offers the help told the man not to thank him but urged him to extend hand of help to others. This has been in my brain; I have never heard such before. My father is also another man that taught me this secret. When I wanted to write my WAEC, I approached my father to give me the money then; someone came, the person told my father he doesn’t have any means to feed his children; Instead to give me the money that was with him, he gave the money to the person. I was really mad; he called me and said I can write the exam again; there is a tendency that they even postpone the payment date, but there is no tendency that life can be postponed. A life can be killed by hunger and it can’t be replaced. Ever since, I said to myself that no matter what; I will always help.
Among all these you have said, how do you pamper yourself and what is the most expensive thing you bought for yourself ?
I pamper myself by exploring countries anytime we have break, I do relax too; which is very important to every footballer. And the most expensive thing I have ever bought myself is my first house in Lagos. My siblings reside there
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