Jimma Aba Jiffar were crowned champions of the 2017/18 Ethiopian Premier League Yesterday after their 5-0 rout of Adama Ketema in the last match day took them above St George on goal difference. The team from the city of Jimma, some 350 Kms South-West of the Capital Addis Ababa, have won the championship in their maiden season in the top flight and join St George as the only clubs to achieve this rare feat.
In addition to their sturdy backline that has conceded only 15 goals in 30 games, the attacking prowess of forward Okiki Afolabi has been the key ingredient of coach Gebremedhin Haile’s side winning formula. It has indeed been quite a season for the Nigerian who netted 23 times (59% of Jimma Aba Jiffar’s goals) to lead his team to the championship and finish as the top scorer of the league. In a short, exclusive interview with Soccer Ethiopia after Yesterday’s game, the tactful striker had a few words to say.
You just won the Ethiopian Premier League Title in your first season here, and also finished the season as the top scorer. In retrospect, how did you find your first season in Ethiopia? And How do you feel about your achievements?
It was indeed my first season playing in Ethiopia. I had a great season, and I’m very happy to be able to play here and finish as the top scorer of the league. I’m ecstatic. This achievement has helped me to increase the confidence and belief I have in my abilities. I did not achieve this feat alone, I would like to thank my team mates and coaches whose help has been invaluable.
What is the secret to your success this season?
There is no secret, it is a result of my hard work. In addition, I always listen to the instructions my coach Gebremedhin Haile gives me. I usually go to the sideline mid game to listen to what he has to say, and I execute his instructions. That is all there is to it, no secrets.
How was the level of competition in the league throughout the season?
It was very challenging. We had no choice other than to play to the maximum of our abilities in every game. As a team, we were playing exceptionally well throughout the season, and this has helped us in our quest to end the season at the top.
What does the future hold for Okiki Afolabi? Are we going to see you at Jimma Aba Jiffar next season?
I do not want to reveal anything about my future at this moment. You’re just going to have to wait and see.
Lastly, any messages you want to convey?
I really want to thank my team mates, coaches, and fans of Jimma Aba Jiffar. The support we recieved from the people of Jimma was amazing and unwavering throughout the season. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.