By Jacob Ajom
Nigeria Professional League top shot and first winner of the Eunisell Boot, Junior Lokosa is a rising star of Nigeria football. His rise from a humble beginning to where he is today is like a Nollywood story. A few years back, Junior Lokosa was a player with a non-league club, Young Strikers Football Club of Lagos.
Lokosa’s performance set him apart from his contemporaries as he was soon spotted by Emmanuel Ibru, proprietor of amateur club, A. S. Racine of Lagos. He played for a few seasons with Racine before moving on to Bridge Boys, also of Lagos then First Bank FC. From First Bank, he moved to his present club, Pillars Football club of Kano.
Lokosa joined Pillars mid-season 2016/17 season and scored just five goals. But in the 2017/2018 season, the Badagry-born goal poacher announced his arrival with a storm as he scored 19 goals from 24 matches before the abrupt end to the season due to leadership crisis that almost consumed the football house.
Speaking in Lagos Thursday during the Eunisell Boot Award presentation, the dark-skinned player who was in company of his mother and manager, Emmanuel Ibru said he could not believe he was the one that was being celebrated. “I can’t believe it. My rise from Young Strikers to the Super Eagles has been tremendous. I am still learning and with God on my side, the sky would be the limit.”
The goal poacher is however not a happy man despite winning the Eunisell Boot plus a N3.8m prize money.
“I am not happy that I ended the season without winning the league or a trophy to show for our efforts. Unfortunately, that is football.”
But he admitted that the award will, no doubt, motivate him and other NPFL players for a higher level of performance. “It is going to make me and others work harder in order to achieve that feat again. I remember in January and February I won the Player of the Month back-to-back. I will now want to outdo that in the coming season.”
He said he has already set his target for the coming season. “As a striker, you have to set a target for yourself so that you work towards it. My target for next season is only known to me. Last season I set a target of about 28 to 30 goals, which was not met because of the abrupt end to the season.”
Despite the abrupt end to the season, Lokosa said his club’s progress in the AITEO Cup gave him hope until the dramatic final at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba. “That was my toughest game of the season.”