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“It’s not easy back in Nigeria” – Brentford’s Benjamin Fredrick reflects on life as a footballer in Nigeria

Benjamin Fredrick is a Nigerian Under-18 central defender who joined Brentford on loan in the summer from Nigerian club side, Simoiben FC.

Brentford B centre-back, Benjamin Fredrick, has shared how he lived life as a young professional footballer on the streets of Nigeria, Soccernet.ng reports.

Benjamin, 18, joined The Bees on loan in August from Simoiben F.C. in Nigeria, with an option to buy permanently included in the deal. He was immediately drafted into the B team.

The teenage sensation revealed he had to push himself and hustle to get boots to play football as he didn’t have any sponsors to help, and now he’s determined more than ever to play top-flight football.

“In Nigeria coming up, it’s not easy. No sponsor, no help, you have to try to hustle to buy boots for yourself. Most times, my dad didn’t have money to afford boots for me, so I had to hustle to buy boots for myself,” Fredrick told the club’s official website.

The ex-Nassarawa United defender highlighted that it takes insane levels of hard work, on and off the pitch to get into an academy in Nigeria.

“From the youth level to the academy level you just have to work very hard, you need to work hard off and on off the pitch. You need to do extra training after the team training to be chosen in the academy and if you don’t do that, you can’t come into the academy.”

Fredrick grew up in Television, a 16-minute drive from Kaduna, the capital city of Kaduna State in northern Nigeria. He began his career at the Simoiben Football Academy and progressed to the senior divisions.

As a junior player, Fredrick played on dirt and synthetic football pitches, far from the beautiful turf that the Robert Rowan Performance Centre provides on a daily basis.

“When I came here, the pitches were good, fantastic. In Nigeria, some pitches have holes in which you can injure yourself,” the 1.87m tall defender revealed.

Prior to his loan move to Brentford, Fredrick was linked to other European clubs but is determined to make his stay in Europe an extended one by making the best of the loan move.