Bangladesh got their first naturalised footballer -- Nigeria-born forward Eleta Kingsley in their football history during the first match of FIFA Tier-1 International Football Series against Seychelles in Sylhet on Saturday.
Bangladesh beat Seychelles by a 1-0 goal in the series opener riding on a long goal by youngster Tariq Kazi. The second and final match of the two-match FIFA Tier-1 International Football Series 2023 will be held on Tuesday at the same venue.
“The dream of playing in the national team came to pass yesterday (Saturday). I will not tell a lie, I was a little bit nervous. Putting on this jersey for the first time and scoring a goal at the same time,” Eleta said told reporters after a training session on Sunday.
“My next dream is to complete my job; my job is to score many many goals for the national team. It is also my dream because I will sit back one day and will think about how many goals I have scored for the country as a striker,” the forward added.
While asked about his performance in his debut match, he said, “As a striker, I’m not going to run away from creating chances. I will go for it anyhow. Yesterday, I was just unlucky because when I kicked the ball bounced on the ground and went off and so if the ball was on the pitch it should have been a goal. I blame the pitch. The pitch is not okay. It’s not the international standard pitch.”
Eleta further said that his other target is to help Bangladesh to secure the title in the upcoming SAFF Championship.
“We talked about the SAFF with the coach. We want to become champions this time. As a group, we also want to support him and become the champions. This time, we just don’t want to qualify for the group stage, we also want to win the SAFF,” he added.
“It is very challenging because football comes with age. About my case, I think I have to rely on my experience now and what I’m exactly doing. I’m relying on my experience to support the team and off the ball,” he concluded.