By Fisayo Dairo
There is this compelling belief that the joy of claiming the bragging rights in a local derby is most felt by indigenous players of the victorious side. To such, appearance in the derby alone comes with the glowing pride of defending their team’s colours in front of friends and family members, usually on a stage they used to be as a spectator in the past, but now as one of the actors and how much more ending on the winning side on the day?
For Plateau United utility star Benjamin Turba, the quest for more knowledge and education as well as careful planning towards a better future motivated him to join the newly promoted side from El-Kanemi Warriors before the start of the season. But a little much more is the temptation of going back to his beloved town of birth, Jos and also a likely participation in league derbies against privately-owned Giwa FC. His aspirations could not have been actualized more earlier than this.
Turba could not have hoped for a better time to open his goalscoring account for Plateau United and establish himself as a Jos cult hero than the Match Day 11 clash with Giwa FC at the famous Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos. He broke the resistance of the Giwa Elephants after over an hour of tenacious hostilities with a fine goal right in front of thousands of spectators including his childhood playmates and family members.
“Scoring in the derby means a lot to me,” the former Enyimba midfielder told www.npfl.ng
“It’s like one defending his family because all my family members and some of my friends while growing up were all there at the stadium.” added Turba
After a two-year stint in Maiduguri with El-Kanemi despite the growing security concerns, Turba found a return home a perfect move for him as it well aligns with his ambitions.
“I was planning to enroll on a diploma programme since I’m still playing in the country. And all thanks to God Almighty, my state team got promoted to the Premier League. I was so happy and so came home to play and school.” he enthusiastically explained.
The easy-going star has since begun his Diploma programme in Psychology at the Plateau State Polytechnic in Jos, effectively combining schooling with playing in Nigeria’s elite league. Born in the heart of Jos principality, one experience that this soon-to-be husband will not forget his is experience in Maiduguri while playing for the Warriors between late 2014 and early 2016. It was however not as fearful as many have always thought.
“It wasn’t easy (the stay in Maiduguri) but the state government was solidly behind the team so our safety was assured despite all the problems. We were based in the capital city while traveling for our home and away games.” he recalled.
The widely travelled attacking midfielder who can also play in attack was an integral part of the star-studded Kaduna United side that won the FA Cup in 2010 and also Enyimba in 2012 and for one that has tasted success before, he retains the hope that Plateau United will be a success story.
“Our fans are expecting a lot from th e team, not just to remain in the Premier League but to bring something to the state. So we are working hard to make sure we deliver nothing less than a continental ticket. This I also help the team to achieve as my personal ticket.” he loftily concluded.