Former SS Lazio of Italy winger, Seyifunmi Adeleke (Solari) says he has no qualms about having to play his trade in the football backwaters of Northern Cyprus, as the fair-skinned left-footer says ‘half bread is better than none’ in the life of a professional.
Adeleke stated as much at the weekend, after returning from holidays in Lagos to his club, Alsancak Yeşilova, based in the locality of Sevilya Nurel, Alsancak Mustafa Hidayet Çağlar Stadı.
Lining out in Northern Cyprus is the climax of a chequered career that has seen Adeleke get so near the top, yet not being able to settle down to big cash pickings from the round leather game.
After signing his first professional contract at Lazio, he was loaned to Pergocrema, which was followed by similar deals at Salernitana and Biel-Bienne, before moving to Western Sydney Wanderers of Australia in 2015, then returned to Italy to play for Arcella.
In May 2016 Adeleke signed with Arcella in Padua, Italy, playing in the regional league, Promozione Prima Categoria, but his Italian residency status came under threat in 2016.
His dilemma came because the league in which he was playing was an amateur league, Adeleke needed to be a professional athlete to be eligible to play.
Consequently, Adeleke’s permit was not renewed by Italy’s National Olympic Committee, but he appealed, on the grounds that he was receiving payment to play.
Adeleke then made due plying his trade in the penumbra of Italy’s football glare, until late 2016, when offers poured in from a couple of East European countries.
The openings included clubs in Czech Republic and Serbia, but he opted to stay calm, and soon after got the offer to join Merit Alsancak Yeşilova early 2017.
The former Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles invitee said he has to keep on dreaming of achieving big things for his career, since he is still alive and kicking, even if it means he has to continue seeking the Golden Fleece in distant Northern Cyprus.
Adeleke, who is fondly called ‘Baby Ayana’ by close pals, stated over the past weekend on social media: “On the day you give up dreaming, give up living.”