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Swallows Keeper Is A Happy Man 09/10/03
Greg Etafia is a happy man - life is going well for the likeable Moroka Swallows goalkeeper. He has made the position between the posts his own, he is loved by the Birds faithful and he is earning enough money to support his family.

However this was not always the case for the 21-year-old who hails from the northern Nigerian town of Kaduna. He grew up amidst stifling poverty and soccer was the way out of the slum

"I'm the breadwinner in my family and if I didn't make it in professional soccer I don't know what would have happened to me and my family," Etafia told SASoccer365.

While he enjoyed a successful junior career in which he starred for the Nigerian national under-17, under-20 and Olympic teams, Etafia path to the top has not always been easy.

"In Nigeria I played for many clubs. Clubs like Highlanders, Plateu United and Lobi Stars.

"However I always knew that if I was to make a name for myself and earn enough to make my family comfortable I would have to leave Nigeria.

"But it was tough, my confidence took a dive and I thought that I would never realise my dream."

This however all changed when Moroka Swallows spotted his talent and offered him a dream move to the southern tip of Africa.

"Gavin Hunt (Swallows coach) is like a father to me, with him I have managed to get my confidence back," said Etafia.

"I come from a poor background where life was always hard. However I grew up in a family full of love and caring and I always trust in God and the bible.

"I have experienced the same love at Swallows; especially from Gavin and the teams management. They have made me part of the family."

It has also been easy for Etafia to settle in South Africa and he has not experienced any of the xenophobia that, very sadly, exists in the country.

"The South African soccer fans have never treated me differently because I am a Nigerian or I am a foreigner.

"Also I have never heard xenophobic shouts from any of the fans. In fact it is them who gave me the nickname Never my Love from the way I touch my knee when I make a save."

Regarding his aims for the new season, the staunch Catholic is adamant that the Castle Premiership title is what he is after.
"Winning the league is what every team wants and I want to win the league with the Dube Birds.

"The coach that we have has made the whole team believe that we can win the league and winning the league is what we all want to do.

"My contract is up at the end of this season and I want to justify my stay by helping the team land the coveted title."

Keeping the best in PSL at bay and a place in Nigerias team for the African Nations Cup may also become a reality.

"I am currently in the squad but we are four goalkeepers and one of us is going to be dropped before the final squad is announced," said Etafia.

"It is hard to win a place in any Super Eagles squad, but if I play very well for Swallows I believe I will be in that team."

And with Etafia showing solid form and Swallows making an encouraging start to the season his dreams of glory, both locally and on the continental stage, are very possible.

SASoccer365 wishes him the best of luck.

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