Filed in Sports by on April 18, 2009

I don’t want to be a ‘destroyer’ like my dad –Kelvin Kpakor

Former BCC Lions of Gboko captain, Moses Kpakor, was one of Dutchman Clemens Westerhof’s most reliable players in the Super Eagles of the early 1990s.

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Although he was unable to play professional football in Europe, he held his own in the team among the foreign legion of players who were in the team.

Westerhof built his first squad around him and other home-based players like Uche Okechukwu, Isaac Semitoje, Herbert Anijekwu, David Ngodigha, Aminu Abdul, Daniel Amokachi, Thompson Oliha and Friday Elaho at the 1990 African Cup of Nations in Algeria.

But Kpakor was dear to the Dutchman because of his high work rate and ability to execute the most dangerous job on the pitch. He is still regarded as the country’s most hard working midfielder.

Severally, he was given the job of the ‘Destroyer’ to execute and he went about the task like a wounded lion looking for its foe to devour.

Even when the likes of Stephen Keshi, Emeka Ezeugo and Austin Eguavoen returned to the team after Algiers’90 Kpakor remained Westerhof’s boy.

The role of the ‘Destroyer’ under Westerhof’s Block System was to dispossess the opponent of the ball and initiate a counter attack with a telegraphic pass. With a fast attacking formation and a solid rearguard, the system gave the opponent a false impression that the Eagles midfield was weak but most times it found itself restricted to playing the ball around the midfield without being able to penetrate the defence. It worked tremendously.

Kpakor also played the role of the ‘Policeman’, where he was expected to police and mark out a particular player.

He was on the verge of a pro-career abroad when injury shattered his dreams of playing in Europe.

But today, his son, Kelvin, has taken over from where his father stopped and is ready to put the name of the family on the world map again.

The 16-year-old student of Kwara Football Academy in Ilorin said, “You see, football runs in the entire family. My younger brother, Tavershima, is also coming up although he is yet to be fully introduced into the game. He is a student. My uncle, Terfa, was also a very good player.

“My father was not privileged to play in a foreign country but I want to show the world that I can do that by playing abroad and for the national teams.

“My father brought me here so that I could learn the basics of football from a renowned coach like Clemens Westerhof.”

The former Golden Eaglets invitee’s clinical finishing is unrivalled at the KFA. During the academy’s last tour of Europe, he scored four goals to emerge as the highest goal scorer. And then he confirmed his class in front of goal against the Golden Eaglets in a friendly match in March.

With his back to the goal, he swiftly turned his marker to unleash a powerful drive past the Golden Eaglets goalkeeper. It took a late rally from the national side to end score 1-1.

“I was very happy to score against the Golden Eaglets,” Kelvin said.

“I proved a point with that goal. I don’t know the reason why I was dropped.

“I think the problem is not from the coach of the Golden Eaglets. Those who took the decision know why they decided to exclude me.”

Why did he opt to play as a forward rather than in the midfield where his father excelled?

He said, “Like I said earlier, the decision to play football was purely mine. I chose to be a sriker.

“My dad was a great midfielder while I am just trying to begin my career as a footballer.

“His brother Terfa was a very good striker and I hope to take after him (Terfa) and even take my football higher than he did.

“I don’t really like playing in the midfield and that is where my father played. I like to do the scoring; not doing the marking.”

Kelvin added that being compared to his father was putting him undue pressure.

He said, “I think my daddy was a better player but I am still learning and hope to match his achievements.

“ I cannot compare myself to my father. My dad was a very good player. So it is too early to start saying I have reached his position.” The fast-talking player said the KFA had helped develop him as a better player and hoped to play for two of the biggest clubs in England after a stint with Lierse of Belgium.

He said, “I started football in 2005; and I was really very young then. So my dad brought me to KFA in 2007.

“ I was playing well before I got here but my game was not as developed as it is today. “He brought me here to learn more and I think the academy has helped me a lot.

“It was from here I first played football in Europe. I went to Belgium to play for Lierse on loan and I played for half a season before I came back to the country. I think KFA has done a lot for me. You can see my game has changed a lot. The coaches will tell you.

“The two years I have stayed here, I have known the basics of football and I have also been taught about sports management and other things at the academy. I think we have a top-class academy here in Ilorin.

“I am eyeing a move to Manchester United in the future. I like everything about the club; from the technical crew to the players, the administration and their youth football policy. “I like Cristiano Ronaldo so much because of his awesome skills. He is the best player in the world.

“The other club I would like to play for is Arsenal. They have a very strong youth policy too and their manager, Arsene Wenger, has a lot of confidence in African players.” However, one of the major problems facing Kelvin is combining the game and education.

He said, “I won’t be able to combine football and education because I don’t think I would have the time to play football and go for lectures.

“I have chosen football, so I have to face it fully. But before I retire I will make sure I get the desired education because it would come handy when I retire from playing. But I will also get involved in business too.” But before then the ambitious player, says he must excel first at the KFA.

“A lot of young lads don’t have the opportunity of being here like I do, so I think I must make the most of the chance. It is a great privilege to come from a state like Benue which has produced the country’s best footballers like my dad, Dominic Iorfa, Daniel Amokachi and others. After doing well here, I hope to return to Europe soon.”


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