One of the greatest football players that God blessed Nigeria with is Etim Esin John born on the 5th of October 1966. He is a retired Nigerian international footballer. He is one of the most gifted players in the country’s football history. Esin played for Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Flash Flamingoes, and Calabar Rovers before moving to Belgium.
Etim Esin John was nicknamed “Maradona”, by legendary Nigerian radio commentator Ernest Okonkwo because of how skilful he was with the ball. He has represented Nigeria at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Champions and in 6 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. He was left out of the team that represented Nigeria at the 1994 world cup because there was a report that he was banned by FIFA for allegedly raping a minor during his playing days with Lierse F.C.
It was however discovered that the allegation was false as the lady gave birth and the baby had no trace of African blood 25 years after. Etim Esin John started to decline when the Nigerian team were planning for a World Cup tournament to be played in Chile, the players were asked not to leave the camp but he sneaked out with two other players out of the camp.
The Fall of Etim Esin John
The great player was attacked by some armed robbers alongside the two other players, he was shot in the leg, the other players thought he even died but upon arrival to the hospital, it was discovered he is still alive. It was reported that the robbers who attacked them and shot him sent a message to the player when he was in the hospital to apologise for the attack on him.
Etim Esin John was taken to the World Cup but could not perform due to the injury from the bullet wound. Nigeria could not do anything in the tournament as the tactics of the team was built around him who was the Maradona of the team. Etim Esin went on to play in Belgium for many teams. He played for Lokeren and Lierse, but in those clubs, his hot-headedness and poor attitude made him get into a lot of trouble, which affected even his international career.
Apart from minor spats with his coaches, he got into major trouble in the 1990s when he was accused of raping and impregnating a white girl in Belgium. He escaped home from Belgium and insisted on his innocence. Although he was eventually vindicated 25-years later as the girl’s child had no traces of black blood, the stigma never went away.
His once-promising career crumbled and the accusation of a crime as heinous as rape proved too heavy for Esin to recover from. There seemed to be no way back for the stylish midfielder once fondly called ‘the African Maradona’ as he was not able to play at the highest level again until he retired.
Many argued that Jay-Jay Okocha did not play half of what Etim Esin John played, the player is still very much alive but the major lesson in his story is there for us to see and learn from. A good attitude is very important to success. Without it, even the best of talents can waste away. Village people are not always behind your troubles, your greatest enemy might just be your poor attitude.