Guy Kuemian Venanle is one of the most exciting footballers in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Blessed with pace, trickery, an eye for the unconventional pass and a low centre of gravity, the attacker is wowing the fans with touches of brilliance week after week.
He made his debut as a second half substitute for Rivers United in the 1-2 defeat to MFM FC at the Agege Stadium, Lagos and quickly made a decisive contribution; crossing unerringly for Obomate Frederick to head home late in the game.
The Ivoirian netted his first goal of the season on match day five as Rivers United beat Nasarwa United 1-0 in a tension-soaked game in Port Harcourt.
He sat down with Rivers United media to discuss how he’s settled in at his new surroundings.
Rivers United Media: How did you feel scoring your first goal for Rivers United.
Guy Kuemian: I was very happy to score that goal for Rivers United particularly as it was the winner and it arrived so late in the game.
The goal was important because it gave us a win which helped take us up to fifth on the league standings
It is not easy to play in the Nigerian league….it is an extremely difficult league to be successful in but I will strive to score more. </p>
RUFCM: Rivers United is your first football club in Nigeria but where did you play previously before coming to Port Harcourt.
GK: I previously played for Moroccan clubs, Moghreb AtleticoTétouan, Raja Casablanca as well as a Gabonese club, US Bitam.
I joined Rivers United from an Equatoguinean club, Leones Vegetarianos.
RUFCM: Which of these previous football clubs did you enjoy your best memories as a professional footballer
GK: I had a great time in Morocco with Raja but my time at Leones Vegetarianos is absolutely unforgettable.
RUFCM: How does the NPFL rate with the Moroccan Botola and the leagues in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea?
GK: If you are not strong, physically, you cannot survive in the Nigerian league.
I was shocked when I first saw a Nigerian league game.
The defenders don’t hold back in their tackles and the pace is something else.
In Morocco and the other countries I played in previously, the teams are more tactical but nowhere near as physically strong as the Nigerian teams.
I am adapting to the NPFL slowly and I even scored in my last game.
That will give me the motivation to do even more in the days to come.
RUFCM: Your wife and two kids are in Abidjan; how difficult is it coping without your family?
GK: It’s hard….very hard but then, that’s football for you. As a professional, you know that sometimes, you have to travel far away from home away from the people you love.
This is not the first time I am leaving my family behind in Abidjan. Nigeria is the fourth country I am playing in, professionally.
However, I am working to see that I relocate my family to Nigeria.
RUFCM: You don’t speak a word of English. How do you communicate with your teammates who are predominantly Anglophone?
GK: Well, it’s not the easiest thing in the world but I have a friend in the team, Yaovi Douhadji who speaks English.
We had been friends even before I joined Rivers United so he helps me in that regard.
I want to thank him for helping me adapt. I have also made new friends like (teammate), Gabriel Olalekan who is now desperately trying to speak French.
RUFCM: Douhadji has just been called up to Togo’s national team…any chance of you getting a call up to play for your country any time soon?
GK: It’s the dream of every footballer to represent his country so yes, I hope so but the Ivory Coast is blessed with so many world-class footballers.
We will see how it goes but I am really happy for Yaovi.
He has important games coming up for Togo against Tunisia and I wish him the best.
RUFCM: Guy, thanks for your time.
GK: Any time.