I was mentally down and about to leave India: Jamshedpur FC's Daniel Chima
Ahead of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season, SC East Bengal roped in the Nigerian striker Daniel Chima Chukwu, however, his ambitions to help bring glory to the club soon reached a state that started to impact him mentally when the Red and Gold brigade’s underwhelming campaign was not able to yield the desired results.
“Certain things weren’t going the right way. When I arrived in India for the first time, it was nice and positive at the beginning with my previous team. There were a lot of expectations as well, of course. But when the team wasn’t able to get the desired results, it started impacting me a lot, especially because of the negative comments, insults and trolling that I came across in those months,” Chima told Sportskeeda.
The on and off the field struggles continued to mount pressure on Chima but he found support from his family to continue putting up a fight that 'motivated him a lot'.
“I wanted to do more and help the team as much as I could, but we were in a moment where nothing was going right. I got a lot of support from my family at the time and they motivated me a lot. They said that I should keep going, but I was mentally down and was about to leave India. Then suddenly Jamshedpur FC happened.
In the mid-season transfer window, Jamshedpur FC had parted ways with striker Nerijus Valskis, and the void left behind was filled by Chima, and that proved to be a mutually beneficial deal.
“(Getting an offer from Jamshedpur FC) was also a big confidence booster as the team at the top of the table wanted me, who was at the bottom of the league, and it meant that I was probably doing something right. So I told my agent, 'Let’s do it.'"
The signing for Jamshedpur was also a way of telling my family and close friends that I am okay, and that I have not given up despite all that was endured in the previous months...that I am still very hungry.”
Chima first showcased what he is capable of in the night against Odisha FC in Match 13 when SC East Bengal were trailing by three goals and he made an entrance as a substitute. He created an outside chance for his side to restore parity with a double strike in the dying minutes of the game, eventually losing 6-4.
However, his next goal would only come when he played his debut match for Jamshedpur FC against FC Goa that ultimately proved to be the winner.
“It was a very good feeling to score the goal. It was also important to me as we won the match and got those three points. After scoring and getting the lead, I was really hoping and thinking, 'If this is the only goal we are going to score, let’s not concede.'"
A @JamshedpurFC 𝒹𝑒𝒷𝓊𝓉 𝑔𝑜𝒶𝓁 for Daniel Chima helped The Men of Steel beat @FCGoaOfficial 1️⃣-0️⃣ and go second on the table! 🔥— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) January 28, 2022
Watch the #ISLRecap of tonight's #JFCFCG clash 📽️#HeroISL #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/D8ex99imTl
Before coming to the Hero ISL, Chima helped Norwegian heavyweights Molde FK to three league titles and guided them to two Norwegian Cup titles during his first stint with the club between 2010-2015. The Nigerian also celebrated two of his three league titles with former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who was in charge of Molde from 2011-2014.