Interview: Casa Pia hero Saviour Godwin details his difficult journey from the streets to the Super Eagles

Interview: Casa Pia hero Saviour Godwin details his difficult journey from the streets to the Super Eagles

Imhonlamhen Eronmhonsele

On September 27, 2022, exciting winger Saviour Godwin made his Super Eagles debut when he came off the bench during Nigeria's friendly match with Algeria to replace Ademola Lookman.

Nigeria lost that encounter 2-1 despite taking the lead through Lorient striker Terem Moffi, as goals from Riyad Mahrez and Youcef Atal handed the Desert Foxes their third consecutive win over the Eagles.

But for Saviour, wearing the Super Eagles kit fulfilled a childhood dream that for so long felt like it would never be a reality.

Born in Jos, Nigeria, into a poor background, Saviour confesses in a tell-all interview with EaglesTracker that surviving the harsh reality of everyday poverty was the greatest difficulty he faced while growing up.

"Being able to get food, buy jersey and boots was difficult," the tricky winger said. "I come from a poor background. No good nutrition. I had to eat on the street with my friends.

"The grass we played football on is nothing compared to what they have in Europe. My city is a little bit far from the training camp, so I had to walk. These were the challenges I faced."

As tough as the hurdles were, though, they did not stop little Saviour from working hard and holding on to his dreams of playing football professionally.

Having incredible role models and a strong motivating factor on days when it was easier to quit than continue can also help.

For Saviour, those factors include family, Austin Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu - two of Nigeria's greatest stars.

"I liked watching Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo on TV," Saviour said.

"Seeing them play on a Saturday or Sunday when I go to watch football in my area, it's something that also motivates me to push, to always fight. And I used to say to myself, one day, I want to be like them. They played a really big role in motivating and inspiring me.

"My family also played a key role in motivating me. Football was the only thing I could do to put food on their table. I did not have anything in my head, so it's either you go all in, or you go home."

Well, Godwin Saviour went all in, and success followed. He became one of Nigeria's most successful teenagers when he played his part as a Kelechi Iheanacho-inspired Golden Eaglets lifted the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup.

Two years later, Saviour signed his first professional contract when joining Belgian side KV Oostende. But it was at lower league side Roeselare that the flying forward found his feet, scoring 14 goals in 84 league appearances.

Portuguese club Casa Pia snapped him up in 2020.

In his second year with Casa Pia, Saviour became a hero, winning several individual accolades as he helped the Geese gain promotion to the Primeira Liga. It was the first time Casa Pia would return to the top flight of Portuguese football since they were relegated in 1939.

After achieving his primary aim of getting himself settled in the European football circuit, Saviour wants more.

"Of course, I have other dreams. When it comes to football, the most important thing is the passion I have for the game.

"Secondly, to see how I can put food on my family's table. To get all these, I need to play in the highest leagues. My next dream is to see how I can play in the top five leagues here in Europe."

Saviour Godwin has scored three goals and provided an assist in 13 games for Casa Pia in his debut season in the Primeira Liga.

And after following that up with his first Super Eagles appearance, the 26-year-old seems well on his way to making his other dreams come true.

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