Exclusive: Junior Lokosa: The Nigerian Goal King hoping to be better than Ronaldo de Lima, Eto'o

Nigerian forward Junior Lokosa, known for his prolific goal-scoring, reflects on his remarkable 2018 season and expresses confidence in replicating it before retirement, despite current challenges in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) with Sporting Lagos

Precious Oham
Precious Oham

Last Updated: 2024-05-06

Louis Hobbs

7 minutes read

Junior Lokosa sheds tears of joy after scoring a goal

Having already lived a life that only a handful of footballers have lived, and others, can only dream of living, Nigerian forward Junior Lokosa has revealed that he is positive that he can replicate his notable 2018 career season once more before he retires.

After making his mark in the Nigerian second division - the NNL, with First Bank, Lokosa left home to move up North, signing with four-time Nigerian champions Kano Pillars in May 2017 and scoring five goals in 14 league games in his first season at the club.

Image Credits: Guardian Nigeria)

Image Credits: Guardian Nigeria)

By the midway point of the 2018 season, the Lagos-born striker had scored 14 goals in 15 matches, eventually finishing as the league's top scorer with 19, in 21 matches, earning himself a place in the Super Eagles, and a subsequent move to Tunisian champions Esperance de Tunis.

Struggling with living up to his name

Six years later, and back in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) with home-based Sporting Lagos, Lokosa reveals he can never get past having not replicated the season that made him, a legend.

"I always have the 2018 season at the back of my mind," the 30-year-old striker said in an exclusive chat with SportsBoom,

"...because I am trying at every moment to picture in my head how I scored most of those goals. 

"I played with wonderful players in 2018, legends of the league, leaders like the late Chinedu Udoji and Rabliu Ali, they always motivated me to do better. I really wish I could do it again. I know I can do it again, I just need to give myself that extra push.

"It [the current NPFL season] has been a good season, despite my not getting close to my personal targets for the season, but it's been good so far," he added.

"This season is an experience for all the players in Sporting Lagos, for the management, for even the owner of the team. The first season [as a top division team] can be challenging, but I know next season would be better because there are many things the club management now understands about the league and would look to correct. We can compete next season," Lokosa said about his team's chances, following a tough year that has seen him score less than double digits so far.

Taking lessons from the best

Even though he might now be entering the penultimate years of his illustrious career, the former CAF Champions League winner believes that there is still more to prove, adding that he is always trying to be better than himself, and his idols.

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When I was growing up I had so many idols I wanted to play like, so many of them.

Junior Lokosa

"The people I admired the most, that I look at their game and try to pick something from are Ronaldo de Lima, Samuel Eto'o, Adebayor, and my lovely striker from my neighbourhood Odion Ighalo," the Sporting Lagos forward revealed with a chuckle.

Image Credits: Sporting Lagos/X Account

Image Credits: Sporting Lagos/X Account

"I only look up to people that play the same position as I do, and I try to pick something from each of them, not just one person, because I want to be better than all of them.

"My weakness is sometimes thinking I already possess everything I need, and instead of working harder, I push the idea aside because I already have it. But I'm trying to change this," he quickly adds, "with the help of my brother, after every game I play, he will tell me the one or two things he felt I was lacking. I also have close people around me that tell me on the phone.

Finishing strong

Despite his achievements and his experience playing in Nigeria, one thing is still missing for this 5-foot, 8-inch poacher. "I believe I can still win the NPFL. I've come close a couple of times, like last year when I finished as a runner-up at the Super 6 [with Remo Stars]," Lokosa says.

"It is normal for people to talk, to say things, it is normal for footballers, people telling you to go and rest [retire] or whatever, it is normal. 

"But when these people tell you to go and rest, and the next thing, they see you where they did not expect you to be, or do things they did not expect you to do, next minute, they want to celebrate with you. So, it's normal for people to talk."

Precious Oham
Precious Oham Sports Writer

Precious is a freelance correspondent for SportsBoom, covering the Nigerian market. He brings over a decade's wealth of experience to the team having worked as both an analyst for leading national broadcasters AIT, a media and communication officer for SKE FC in Nigeria's third division, and a writer/reporter for a host of notable digital sports media brands in Nigeria.