Nigerian star John Chibuike plays for Turkish side Gaziantepspor and has been instrumental in the club's ambition to remain in the Turkish top flight.
Chibuike who started out as a defender for Enugu Rangers has scored five goals in 27 league games thus far for Gaziantepspor this season.
Chibuike spoke with Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI on his career in Turkey, his stint with Rangers of Enugu and revealed his toughest opponent so far…
CS:You're a former Enugu Rangers player, but not so many Nigerian fans have heard of the name, John Chibuike. Could you tell our readers about your career so far?
J: Yes, I played Enugu Rangers. It was a good feeling to be part of Rangers' history because it is one of the traditional teams in Nigeria. I was both a defender and midfielder for Rangers. I played for Rangers for one season (scored five goals in 14 matches). I signed for Swedish club, BK Hacken in 2009 and was there for two seasons. After that I signed for Norwegian side Rosenborg where I played till two years ago before joining Gaziantepspor.
CS: You play for Gaziatepsor along with another Nigerian, Gbenga Arokoyo. How important is it for you to have a fellow Nigerian or African in the same club?
J: Gbenga Arokoyo has been like a brother at the club. It is a great thing to be with your follow country man in a club especially in a foreign land. At Gaziantepspor people see our closeness, and it has been beneficial to both of us.
CS: So many African players have been victims of racism in Europe. How do you cope with this sad situation and have you experienced any racial abuse?
J: About racism, it is normal when you are in another country, especially in Europe. So for me, I see it a lot of times but it doesn't change anything about my football. It even makes me stronger and a better player.
CS:Let's talk a bit more about Rangers. They have started the season in Nigeria well. What do you feel have been reason why they cant seem able to win the league back home for more than 20 years?
J: Rangers is a team every player will love to play for. Their fans are so supportive. I think with the support of the state government and commitment of the club management, players and fans, everything will be fine about Enugu Rangers again. They have started the season in Nigeria well. I feel they can win a lot of games and perhaps even the league title if these factors come into play.
CS: You have scored five goals for your Turkish club so far. Tell us, have you found the Turkish league a good league to achieve your ambitions or do have your eyes on another league in Europe?
J: Yes, I'm the top scorer in my club Gaziantepspor with five goals. I love to create a lot of chances, score goals and assist. The Turkish league is okay. They are trying to make it much better. Of course I'm looking forward to moving to a much better league in Europe again.
CS: Which game and goal(s) have been your most remarkable so far?
J: I have a lot of remarkable games but against Bursaspor I scored twice on January 24th this year (2016). On a personal note, it was a great game for me but unfortunately we lost the game 3-2.
CS: Which player have been your most difficult in Turkey?
J: Here in Turkey there are so many good players, and defenders in particular in this context. When we played against Kasimpasa, it wasn't easy facing Kenneth Omeruo. Honestly, it was not easy at all for me playing against him. We managed to win 2-1 on that day (January 16, 2016). He is a top defender in Turkey.
CS: Who or what has been your greatest influence in your career?
J: I put my hope in God. I have been positively influenced by so many good players wherever I have played and I have also enjoyed the support of my fellow Nigerians.
CS: The Turkish league boasts players like Samuel Eto'O, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie, Lukas Podolski etc but do you feel it is seen as a league where the supposedly 'aging and unwanted' players, even if spectacular, eventually go?
J: I don't think so. The Turkish league may not be the best in the world but it attracts great players. The guys you mentioned are all great players but Samuel Eto is special among them.
CS: Which clubs are you tipping to win the UEFA Champions League and Europa League?
J: I feel Real Madrid will win the Champions League for the 11th time, especially now Barcelona have been eliminated. And Liverpool will likely win the Europa League. Dortmund was a big challenge which they have surmounted. Jurgen Klopp has really brought a winning mentality at Liverpool.
CS: Did your parents support your choice of career or were they against it?
J: My parents are late but I wish wherever they may be now, they are happy with me.