Joe Aribo: From Sunday League Player to Perfect Role Model


Global Soccer

For someone who wasn’t considered good enough to make it into professional football but was only fit for a “Sunday League Football,” Joe Aribo not only disproved critics by playing for a top club, he is now regarded as the perfect role model by the foundation that produced him

He wasn’t seen as someone who could make a career out of football, but against all odds, once described as a ‘good Sunday League player’, Joe Aribo went on to play for a top club and at international level, and he plays today He is celebrated for his discipline and charitable character.

The owner of the foundation that produced the Super Eagles midfielder has described him as a great personality who is down to earth and humble.

Harry Hudson said when Aribo joined the Kinetic Foundation as a young footballer, he was described as a “good Sunday league player,” but he’s since turned the corner and become one of their biggest products.

Hudson said Aribo’s interests are clear and he doesn’t care about the fast life, although he has enough to afford it. He said this has continually made him a good example for the players coming through the foundation’s ranks.

In an interview with Football Scotland, Hudson said Aribo always comes by for the foundation when needed.

“Joe is a lovely young man. He’s so down to earth and so humble. He is a real credit to his family and such a lovely young man. When Kevin Ciubotaru signed for Rangers, I asked Joe to go up to him and say hello and make him feel welcome and Joe would come right back to me,” he said.

“If we have any events he will do it, he did an Instagram Live for us. He always helps us where he can. He always keeps in touch and if I ever ask him for anything it may not be right away but he will always get back to me and we are really grateful to him for supporting us whenever he can.

“The challenge we have in society is that most young people serve as role models, either footballers or rappers.

“Those are the two things they will look up to. Some of the footballers are negative role models. Also when I look at someone like Karim Benzema and what he posts on social media. It’s a mini film of him driving crazy cars with Balenciaga shoes and £200,000 watches and that’s what young people think of as success.”

Aribo has indeed expressed his desire to improve his goals and assists, contributions for Rangers as the Scottish Premiership enters its final stages.

The 25-year-old has been a key figure for second-placed Rangers, providing seven goals and five assists in 27 games so far this season.

Ahead of the Scottish Premiership game against Aberdeen, Aribo noted he’s doing whatever it takes to get out of his recent low in front of goal.

Aribo said: “Personally, I wanted more goals and assists. I wasn’t at my best compared to what I was before January.

“But in football there are these dips and forms and I will overcome that by doing my best every day.”

“I wanted more numbers in terms of goals and assists. I wasn’t at my best compared to what I was before January,” he said.

Aribo is expected to play for Rangers in the remaining four league games against Dundee, Celtic and St Mirren.

Rangers are currently three points behind bitter rivals Celtic, whose derby takes place in the penultimate week of the season.

Meanwhile, former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has berated Aribo for his loss of form since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles star was one of Scotland’s best players, particularly after Giovanni Van Bronckhorst replaced Steven Gerrard at the helm of the club.

Prior to AFCON, the 25-year-old had six goals and five assists in 32 games. But since his return he has hit the net just once and assisted three times in 20 appearances.

His slump in form also coincided with a poor Rangers run. The Gers, who are in a title fight with rivals Celtic, have lost eight points from a possible 24 in their last eight Premiership games.

Nicholas, who made his name playing in Celtic colors, believes Aribo should do better, especially at this crucial point of the season.

“Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side deserved a lot of praise for beating Borussia Dortmund in the last round,” Nicholas told the Daily Express.

“They now meet Red Star in the first leg at Ibrox and there is no doubt that expectations have risen again.

“I can see Kent and Alfredo Morelos both have an appetite for this game but I think it’s about time Rangers pull out another performance from Joe Aribo because he hasn’t recovered since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations more butt-kicked in late January.

“Until then he was player of the season, but that’s up for debate now.”

The Gers are second behind Celtic, with the two separated by three points in the Scottish Premiership.


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