From football field to classroom
Former Viborg player, Paul Obiefule, changed the football field for the classroom to spend more time with his family. He is now studying for a BSc in International Sales and Marketing with focus on African market in Aalborg University after acquiring an AP Degree in Marketing Management at Dania University of Applied Sciences in Viborg.
The 30-year-old midfielder, who formerly played for Lyn, Hønefoss, Lillestrom, KuPS and 14 Nigerian A-teams, terminated his contract with the Swedish club Assyriska in December 2014 because he wanted to be closer to his family who lives in Viborg.
The former footballer from Nigeria is married to a Danish woman with whom he has two kids. “We moved to Sweden, Norway and Finland. In 2013 my wife decided to come back to Denmark, and it was hard for me to be alone, so I decided to follow my family”.
When Paul returned to Denmark at the beginning of 2015 year, he looked for football offers, but they had to be near his home. “I have been offered deals far from home. I also felt that it’s time to do something else with my life because I will not be young forever and I have to think about what I would like to do in the future”.
He eventually teamed up with Holstebro in the Denmark series, like 4th division in a move that was convenient for all parties as he was playing football and close to his family and also studying for his AP Degree at Dania University of Applied Sciences in Viborg.
“They were big team that went down and wanted to come up as soon as possible,” he revealed to papilonews.com. “It was 50 kilometres from my house and I could combine It with my education so I gave it a shot. I was playing for them and at the same time doing brand awareness marketing advert for them as they gave me a car with my picture on the car. As I was studying Marketing Management at that time, it was very convenient for all parties. I could operate from home, which was what I had always wanted.”
Marketing in sports
Paul Obiefule will not yet completely dismiss football. The former footballer will use his experience from the sports field to work with sports marketing in the future. “I enrolled a Dania since it offers Marketing Management in English. After which I proceeded to Aalborg for my Bsc. I would like to be able to work with marketing, advertising and management in sports in the future”.
The former Assyriska player admits that it has been challenging to adapt to a new lifestyle. “It is a bit hard to sit and read a lot of things at the Academy. I miss my other kind of life where they gave me everything. Now I have to do things by myself”.
A life full of sports
The dream of every footballer is to represent his country in the international scene and to win trophies. Paul has achieved that. His passion for football began when he was a child in his country, Nigeria. He started to play professional football at the age of 17 and made his debut for the Nigerian National Football team, Super Eagles, in the LG tournament in 2004.
The Nigerian player has been capped 10 times for his country and he was a member of the Super Eagles squad when they won bronze in Egypt in 2006. “I had hoped this year would be the opportunity to participate in the FIFA World Cup, but we didn’t qualify”.
Gunner For Life!
Paul’s other dream had been to play in the English football club, Arsenal. “It hasn’t been possible, but instead, when I played for Finland’s team, we played a football match with them. I also had the opportunity to come across many other well-known clubs like Liverpool, etc.”
He gave up his studies in agricultural economics in Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri to pursue a professional football career.
In 2004, when the opportunity came to play in Denmark, he took the chance. “I had never heard about Denmark, but I wanted to try something new and to make an international career. After that, other offers came along”.
His younger brother, Obina, has followed his footsteps. He currently plays in Malta and has the record as scoring the most goals ever in Maltese Premier League in the 2011/2012.
With his experience in football and an education in Marketing, Paul Obiefule sure has alot to contribute to the development of the game in Nigeria if the NFF can reach out to him.
2001-2003 JC Raiders FC
2004-2007 Viborg FF
2011 Lillestrøm (loan)
2013-2014 Assyriska FF