By Johnny Edward:
Reading’s striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni hopes this year’s FA Cup can provide him a chance to win an elusive club trophy.
The former Nigeria international has played for 12 clubs since moving to Europe. He has lost out in two Cup finals with Middlesbrough and Everton, but is prepared to banish those memories as Royals face Bradford in FA Cup quarter-finals today (Saturday).
“That is missing,” “A trophy will be great but everywhere I went we tried. Before I retire I hope I lift one,” British daily Daily Star quoted Aiyegbeni as saying.
He also revealed that the language barrier forced him to jump ship in 2014 from Guangzhou R&F whom he joined in 2012.
“It was hard,” he said. “We had a Brazilian coach who had to translate into English and then another guy was there, he had to translate from Portuguese to Chinese. The manager is supposed to speak for like five minutes, but you are there for, say, nine minutes with the translating.
“It’s so difficult to speak to these guys because some of them, they don’t speak English, so it’s hard. You don’t know how to tell them to pass the ball. You just scream at them.”
Yakubu’s language problems eased with the arrival of Sven-Goran Eriksson, who he rates as highly as anybody he has worked under at 12 clubs across six different countries.
“I worked with him at Leicester and again in Guangzhou,” he adds. “It was easy. He is one of the best managers I have ever worked with.
“He is really, really calm. He doesn’t put too much pressure on players. He just wants them to enjoy the game.”
Yakubu who ranks above the likes of Fernando Torres, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Dennis Berkgkamp in the all-time stakes with 96 EPL goals also backed Qatar to host a good World Cup.
“In Qatar, they can get a good World Cup,” he said. “They have nice stadiums. When it is hot, it is really hot there but I believe they can host the World Cup.
“We had to train at 9.30 at night. You finish training at about 12 and then go home at 12.30 or 1, then go to bed at about 4.
“You have to stay home all day because it is really, really hot. You cannot train in the morning or afternoon.”
A dip in the pool might have eased the discomfort of the 50 degree heat but it was not an option for the 32-year-old.
“I am scared of water, really scared,” he explained. “I will get a teacher to teach me as I cannot swim.”
Aiyegbeni has never given up hope of learning to swim and now back in England over 12 years after he started, he still believes this year’s FA Cup can finally provide him with that elusive trophy.