Nigerian international Faith Ikidi is currently playing her ninth season in the Damallsvenskan. She started out for QBIK in 2005, won the Swedish championship title with Linköping in 2009 and has now made the little northern town of Piteå her home since 2011. After Piteå lost 1-2 to champions Tyresö on Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to talk to Faith. A couple of minutes before the match ended, she was lying on the pitch in pain and signalled to the bench that she had to be changed – then, after a short treatment she would carry on.
What happened to you and how does it feel?
– Well, I had this wound on my instep on my left foot from the game against Mallbacken last weekend and now somebody stepped right on it. That caused a lot of pain, but it is getting better now.
Your team Piteå lost with 1-2 to Tyresö, a good result. How did you see the game?
– Yes, I think this is a good result and we played fantastic, I am really proud of my team. But, you know, losing is losing, you’ll get no points. We go back home now with the feeling that we played a good game. Congratulations to Tyresö!
Your next opponent on Sunday will be KIF Örebro, that won’t be easy, either?
– That’s right. We have to keep on fighting. They have a lot of experienced players who know how to hold the ball and some good goal scorers.
Faith, you came to Sweden in 2005 and have lived here for almost eight years now, a pretty long time.
– Yes, a long time. Every year was very interesting with the Swedish league. It is all the time only getting up, up, up. The game in general is getting better every year and everything gets tougher.
This time you demanded a contract over three years with Piteå and you got it. How come?
– That was last year. You know, every year I got a new contract for one year. One year all the time. Piteå is a town that I really like a lot and with a three year contract you can relax a little bit more. It is true that Piteå is a small town, but I do not like big crowds. Stockholm is a very beautiful city, but I don’t like so many people in crowded places, I like it calm and quiet. The people in Piteå, they really love our team. I don’t know how to explain it, but they love us. It doesn’t matter if we have good times or bad times, you can always count on our fans, they are behind us.
What goals do you have for this season?
– Of course, we want to be better than last year. That is always the goal, it doesn’t matter on a club basis or individually, you always want to improve and go on. We don’t say that we want to win the championship or end up Top 5, but we want to be better than last year.
You have impressed me for some years now with your athleticism and primarily that you always stand in the right place. You have a great anticipation and know almost any time where the ball will be coming. Is that something that you can study or is it just a natural talent?
– I think it is mostly a natural talent. And that I got it is thanks to the help of God. Whatever I do, I’ll always pray to God. And of course the coach has something to do with that. Because when you have a talent and then you have somebody that guides you, that helps you with advice, then it is easy. I am very grateful for that.
Anything to do with the Nigerian national team this summer?
– No, we don’t have any matches. Next year will be very interesting, the qualification for the World Cup will be played and the African Championships that hopefully take us to the World Cup. You can’t say right now that we are the leading nation in Africa, there are really a lot of teams that can compete. Last year Equatorial-Guinea won and we became 4th. You see that here are many good teams.
Short news from rounds 4 & 5
Linköping celebrated the opening of its new arena on Sunday. More than 5,000 came to listen to Swedish popstar Markoolio and see the game of Linköping – Örebro. We have probably already seen the largest audience in the league this year.
Pia Sundhage, the coach of the Swedish WNT, has told Sydsvenska Dagbladet that she thinks that some of her players have to gain more weight in order to be able to play up to six matches in a short time during this summer’s EURO. Sundhage criticized the ideal of beauty in today’s society and claimed that soccer players need to be stronger.