Joseph chases soccer dream

The secret is to believe in your dreams; in your potential that you can be like your star, keep searching, keep believing and don’t lose faith in yourself.

These inspiring words from Brazilian professional footballer Neymar has been the driving force for the rising Nadi midfielder Patrick Neel Joseph.

What pushes him to get up and go training every day is the thought of becoming a top midfielder in Fiji one day.

Speaking to Fiji FA Media, Joseph said he was just 15-years-old playing in the under-19 competition when his talent got recognised and was given his first call of national duty in the under-17 playoffs.

“I started my football career when I was nine years old playing for Ahmadhiya Muslim Primary School under-9 grade.

“I followed on to represent Saraswati College in the U19 championship at just the age of 15, being one of the youngest in the squad.

“This was when my name was written in the national selectors’ list after which I was called in camp for OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) U17 playoffs,” he shared.

Impressing the coaching staff, Joseph was given the captaincy role to lead his boys during the 2015 playoffs in Samoa.

This had already set a respectable platform for the upcoming midfielder who has a long way to go in foot. He was also part of the national U20 team.

The 19-year-old Matei, Taveuni, lad said he was approached by his U17 coach Kamal Swamy to join the Nadi district team which he did without hesitation.

He made his debut during the 2015 Vodafone Fiji Fact in the green jumper.

Joseph, who has a passion for football, spends his leisure time doing ball work and his own training.

He would forever be indebted to the Vodafone national football head coach Christophe Gamel for giving him his first call into the senior national team.

“For me it was a lifetime achievement,” he said.

“During the first few days in training, I faced a lot of difficulties, but then I already had a vision from day one and it was my eagerness and determination to make it through the final squad to Philippines.”

When asked who does he look up to for advise, he said, “my district coach Bubs Khan because he was the only one who believed in me and always there to give words of encouragement and advises”.

Fijian wonder-boy Roy Krishna is the sporting icon that influenced Joseph the most.

“I had the privilege to be with Roy in this Philippines tour and he has influenced me to never give up and shows me that anyone can be like him.”

Joseph attended Ahmadhiya Muslim Primary School and Saraswati College. After joining the Nadi district team, he joined Nadi Muslim College to complete his secondary education.

He said it was his Nadi Muslim College coach Nadeem Mohammed who helped in hard times during his stay in Nadi.

“Master Nadeem has also been one of the very supportive coaches I have ever had.

“He had also been very helpful to me and my family during our difficult times and I thank him for his support.”

The ambitious midfielder’s motto in life is “never give up, work hard and believe in yourself”.