Five matches into the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) may be too early to appraise a player or a club in a season that runs for 38 week but not so for Rivers United’s Ivoirian striker, Guy Kuemian Venance.
The 27-year-old attacker is a self-confessed perfectionist who analyses every single detail of professional career on a day-by-day basis.
Blessed with silky skills, close control, a low centre of gravity and uncanny ability in one-on-one situations, Kuemian is every defender’s nightmare.
He is currently United’s top goal scorer with two goals (just two adrift of the division’s top marksman, MFM’s Stephen Odey) but he insists that return after the first five games of the current NPFL season is paltry for a striker of his abilities.
Kuemian discussed the reasons for his lean goals return (in his words) and objectives with the Pride of Rivers – a side campaigning on three fronts this season.
RUFC Media: Guy, how are you and how will you assess your season so far?
Guy Kuemian : I am very well, thank you.
The season has not started too badly for me and for the club but to be honest, we have not started as well as we would have liked especially putting into context, the result of our last match (which United drew 0-0 at home to Lobi Stars) in the league.
It was a very difficult game; the type of games that are usually decided by one goal.
Unfortunately, we failed to get that goal (frowns and shrugs).
Now, we go to Ibadan for our next league game against Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) and we must raise ourselves from the setback of dropping two points at home.
Ibadan is a very difficult place to get a result as 3SC are usually very strong at home but we will give it our best shot and see where it takes us.
RUFC Media: You have scored two goals this season. Are you satisfied with that return after five matches?
Guy Kuemian (GK): No, no, no. There is no way I will be happy with that!
Two goals in five matches is not good enough for a striker like me who wants to finish the season as the league’s best striker.
I know I must improve and I am very confident that with the quality of players around me at Rivers United, my aim (of finishing the season as the best striker) can be accomplished.
I want to score in every game I play! I know it is not possible to do that but that is the mind-set.
My Father will always tell me that ‘if you aim for the sky, you will shoot higher than the rooftop’ so it is important to set my standards very high.
RUFC Media: This is your second season in Nigeria after you joined from Equatoguinean club, Leones Vegetarianos. Certainly, your adaptation to the Nigerian society is now complete?
Guy Kuemian (GK): The adaptation process was not easy as I suffered a lot my first season.
I couldn’t speak the language and not being able to speak a word of English certainly did not help as regards communication with my teammates.
I had some bad moments too on the pitch with injuries (he suffered a strain to the left quadriceps as United lost 1-2 to Heartland at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Sunday, April 10, 2016 and was never quite the same player again for the rest of the season).
The doctors have done a great job and I feel fantastic, physically now.
This will be a great season for me and for Rivers United.
RUFC Media: What is the major difference between the Rivers United of last season and the present one?
Guy Kuemian (GK): (Pauses) It’s hard to say but I think the new players that joined us have improved the squad.
They are excellent footballers and just training with them alone makes you stronger and better!
I love their attitude to training sessions and matches; it’s extremely intense and everyone is very serious with his work.
RUFC Media: Next weekend, Rivers United will travel to Bamako to face the AS Real club in her first ever game in the Caf Champions League. What are your thoughts head of that game?
Guy Kuemian (GK): It’s always tough in the Champions League. I know that quite well having played in the competition with my former club (Leones Vegetarianos).
The objective is to win or draw in Mali, come back to Port Harcourt and record a resounding victory and wait for the next opponent.
RUFC Media: Guy, thank you very much for speaking to us and we wish you all the best this year.
Guy Kuemian (GK): You are always welcome.