Following former BW PASE Academy graduate Inih Effiong’s move to Scottish Premiership side Ross County, we looked back on the striker’s feature interview with the club, from earlier in the season.
The 27-year-old was Woking’s top scorer this season, with seven goals in his last 12 matches and 10 goals in all competitions.
We spoke to Effiong during his time at Woking, where he discussed his aims to break into the higher divisions, which he has now successfully done with his move to Ross County.
Congratulations on the move Inih, and best of luck for the rest of the season, from everyone at BWFC.
ACADEMY SUCCESS STORIES: INIH EFFIONG
Inih Effiong has had three separate spells at Boreham Wood, having started in the club’s famous PASE Academy.
Effiong is a huge advocate of the PASE academy and what it can offer young footballers, explaining the part it played in his development as a forward.
Effiong recalled joining the setup: “I was at St Albans, but I wanted to get more game time and have a greater chance of making the first team, so I went over to the Boreham Wood PASE Academy.
“I was young at the time and it didn’t quite happen for me, but the setup was great and I remember us doing well that season as well, I really enjoyed it.
“The PASE scheme has gotten even better since I was in it, and it is getting a lot more acknowledgment.
“It is a great setup and they do everything properly in PASE, I would highly recommend it.”
Two further spells at Meadow Park followed, as Effiong returned to St Albans in search of playing time. However, the forward soon returned to the Wood, having hit form with the Saints.
Effiong explained: “I got into the team at St Albans and I was scoring goals, Boreham Wood then enquired about me returning. I was older by then and I had a better chance of playing first team football, and because I knew everyone there and I knew how good the setup was, it was a no-brainer.
“I had a really good pre-season at Boreham Wood, I was scoring goals and I started the season well, but I fell out of the squad and was sent out on loan to Chesham.”
The forward’s move to Chesham was soon made permanent, with spells at AFC Dunstable and Biggleswade both following. Although, off-the-field issues troubled the young striker.
He asserted: “I knew that I had the ability, but it was just the focus, and because things happened off the field that didn’t really help me, it meant that my concentration wasn’t solely on football.
“I used football to get me through it, and the people that I was hanging around with at the time, they weren’t the best for me. I knew that if I wanted to stay in football, then I had to cut off all corners, and focus solely on the people that were doing good around me, people who could bring a positivity to me and that is what happened.
“There was also the birth of my child, which helped to channel my focus. I went into the new season with Biggleswade, having sorted everything off the field, and by Christmas I was already on 25-league goals, and I was doing well.
“After I had dealt with all the off the field issues, there was this huge determination to get back to the way that I was playing. I wanted to be playing in the Conference South, minimum. At Biggleswade, that is what the manager said to me, he said that he wanted me to do well and to get myself back up the leagues.”
Football League sides soon came calling for the exciting attacker, with a number of offers on the table. However, a newly discovered heart condition scuppered his attempts to earn a permanent deal.
“I trialled with Barnet, who offered me a deal, but at the time it didn’t make sense for me to sign it. They were offering me significantly less than what I was earning by playing part-time and working as well, and with a child, I couldn’t afford to take that cut.
“I trialled at Grimsby as well, but the closest that I came was with Stevenage, who offered me a deal. The deal was there on the table, but I failed the medical.
“There isn’t an exact name for it, but my heart just beats differently, it is an ethnic thing. It doesn’t really happen to white people, it is an irregular heartbeat and that means that it doesn’t tick the same as yours.
“Say if yours ticks ‘boom…boom…boom’ mine would have different beats within it. There are loads of players who have it, Fabrice Muamba is the most famous example, but it is just whether you are allowed to play with it.
“I have now had it checked over and it is normal, but at the time, they didn’t want to take the risk. It would have been my first pro club and they didn’t know how I would react to training full-time. I just had to think ‘it is what it is.’”
Having had his Football League dream ripped from beneath him, the forward picked himself up and fought to earn a contract back in the Conference. The 6’3” striker upped sticks and travelled North, accepting an offer from Barrow.
“After that, my head was a little bit all over the place,” Effiong admitted. “Because, I was convinced that I would be playing in the Football League, having had a deal on the table, so it was a bit of a shock to the system.
“The offer from Barrow was then put on the table in the same week that I was meant to go on trial at Blackpool. But, I suffered an injury, and Barrow said that they would stick by me and sign me despite the injury. So, I took their offer.”
However, the move to Barrow didn’t play out as the Effiong would have liked, as he found game time hard to come by.
After a tough campaign with the Cumbrian side, he departed for Woking and has since made the No.9 shirt his own.
“I was travelling back home every weekend,” Effiong laughed. “I didn’t really get a chance to play at Barrow to be honest. When I came off the bench, I done well and the supporters liked me up there, but the side were winning and I didn’t get a run of games. I only started one match, so it was a bit hard to get into the gist of things.
“I am at Woking now and I feel 100% more settled, I am playing regularly and I am the main striker as well.”
Looking at the season ahead, Effiong remains as determined, and as enthusiastic as ever. With football and his family now his priorities, he is once again targeting the higher divisions.
“That is definitely achievable, 100%, and I know that I can do it. I have never taken a backwards step in my career, I have only ever gone forward, so I know that I can do it. It is just channelling the focus once again and working hard off the field to enable me to do it.”
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