Ex Chelsea Youth prodigy and former Nigeria Under-17, 20 and 23 player Emma Sarki who has been called up to Haiti National team spoke to SL10 on the reasons why he dumped Nigeria for the tiny island Nation of Haiti.
In this exclusive interview, The Wisla Krakow winger bared his mind on his time with the various youth teams of Nigeria and what his aims and aspirations are with Haiti, the land of his great grand parents.
SL10: What motivated you to dump Nigeria for Haiti?
SARKI: Seriously I got tired of waiting to be called up, when I was on loan from Chelsea to Westerloo in Belgium, I earned plaudits week after week and got voted into the team of the week on numerous occasions, I still wasn’t considered good enough by Nigeria National team selectors,I went to Israel same team with Efe Ambrose Ashdod, I played 35 out of our 36 games in one season yet I still was considered not good enough, At a point my Coach had to ask me, if they know I exist because in his words if Ambrose can be a regular with the National team why not me, we were like untouchables in our team then.
SL10: What role did Ambrose play in trying to get you invited?
SARKI: A lot, he told them about me, gave me numbers to call even my coach then Alan Mc Gregory called on my behalf but they were adamant, I wasn’t needed was their answer.
SL10: As a former Nigeria Youth International, Don’t you think you weren’t patient?
SARKI: Infact my experience with Nigeria Youth teams played a role in my decision to dump Nigeria, I went to the Under-17 World cup in Finland, got spotted by Chelsea I joined them but two years later when they were to build the next Under-20 for the World cup in Holland, using our team at the Under-17 Level as a base I wasn’t considered, how painful?
In 2007, I was finally called up to the Under-20 team my goals played a big role in taking Nigeria to the Finals of the Africa Youth Championship where we lost to host Congo yet qualified for the World cup in Canada, when it was time for the World cup I was snubbed again.
In 2008, I went to an invitational tournament with the Nigeria team getting set for the Beijing Olympics, at the tournament I was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP), finished as top scorer yet I was snubbed when it was time for the Olympics, how else can one be patient?
SL10: Have you ever tried to force your way into the Nigeria senior team?
SARKI: I don’t understand force but I have twice been told to pay some amount of money if I want to be invited but I declined on both occasion.
SL10: No one ever knew your Haiti background, why was it such a secret?
SARKI: It isn’t a secret as much, Im always in Haiti for holidays when I don’t come to Nigeria, my great grandparents are from Haiti, so I never went far away, and it’s an honour to finally been given the chance to represent them.
SL10: What do you intend to achieve with Haiti?
SARKI: To so many people Haiti are pushovers but let me tell you,four of them are my teammates at Krakow,about four play in the MLS and seven are base in France, so we are not that bad as a nation, but my immediate aim is to see us do well at the Gold Cup, and from there we can set goals for the next level, let me say for now I'm focussed on the September 9 friendly.
SL10: What if Nigeria calls you after before you play a competitive game for Haiti?
SARKI: Too late no turning back, I'm not getting any younger, I will be 27 in December, Nigeria cost me my career at Chelsea as i couldn't play due to the 75% National team matches rule, no going back I'm fully focused on Haiti.
SL10: Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with Haiti
SARKI: Always a pleasure, you are my brother man
SL10: I'm not from Haiti mind you?