SHREWD WORK

Shrews­bury winger Abo Eisa on life as a pro – and study­ing for a de­gree

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Lyons

TO SAY there’s a lot go­ing on in Abo Eisa’s life right now is an un­der­state­ment – but he’s lov­ing ev­ery minute of it.

The 22-year-old winger ful­filled a dream when he be­came a pro­fes­sional foot­baller in Jan­uary. He joined Shrews­bury from National League South club Weald­stone to fol­low in the foot­steps of older brother Mo, who joined Chel­tenham from Green­wich Bor­ough last sum­mer and has starred in League Two this term.

It was also go­ing to be tough for rookie Eisa to break into Shrews­bury’s League One pro­mo­tion-chas­ing side, but he’s started to make his mark in the past few weeks.

Af­ter a cou­ple of sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ances, he marked his full de­but with a crack­ing goal in Shrews­bury’s 1-1 home draw against Bury last week­end.

He net­ted in the 13th minute and, by a quirk of fate, sib­ling Mo, 23, net­ted for Chel­tenham in ex­actly the same minute in their 4-3 de­feat at Cam­bridge!

Ea­ger

“Words can’t do jus­tice to how I was feel­ing,” said Abo. “You want to score that first goal as soon as pos­si­ble and it’s just hap­pi­ness and joy all at once.

“You are so ea­ger to prove to the fans and the man­ager you are ca­pa­ble of com­ing here and suc­ceed­ing. There was a lot of emo­tion and, hope­fully, there are many more to come.

“It’s one of those weird things that my brother scored in the same minute.”

But it’s not just on the pitch that Eisa has to be on the ball at present. He is due to com­plete a de­gree in biomed­i­cal sciences at Brunel Univer­sity in the next few months.

Com­bin­ing life as a full-time foot­baller with his stud­ies in re­cent months has not been easy.

He said: “When the Shrews­bury chance came up, my par­ents were say­ing it would be dif­fi­cult to play full­time and do the de­gree, but I said it was one of those op­por­tu­ni­ties you have to take and they were both sup­port­ive.

“The foot­ball work­load is dif­fer­ent to Non-League and it has been harder. You have to do what you can. I’m just try­ing to grind through and hope­fully I pass. I’m on course for a 2:1 and I would be happy with that.”

Eisa will be hop­ing success off the pitch can be matched by glory on it. Though hopes of au­to­matic pro­mo­tion have gone, the third­placed Shrews have as­sured them­selves of a play-off spot and will be ea­ger to re­turn to Wem­b­ley to make amends af­ter los­ing in the Check­a­trade Tro­phy fi­nal to Lin­coln three weeks ago.

“That’s the dream – to reach the Cham­pi­onship,” he said. “Hope­fully, I can play a part, but the most im­por­tant thing is that the club get there. That’s our mis­sion – it’s all about Wem­b­ley.”

How­ever the sea­son ends, Eisa will be able to re­flect on a re­mark­able year. It started when brother Mo, who has net­ted 24 goals this term, got his Foot­ball League break at Chel­tenham.

“I knew the abil­ity he had,” said Abo, “and it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore he showed that to the Foot­ball League. I’m very proud of him.

Im­prov­ing

“It gave me hope, too. I knew that, if he could go from Green­wich Bor­ough to Chel­tenham, I could do the same. It’s an op­por­tu­nity I have been wait­ing for my whole life. I feel like I’m im­prov­ing and that Shrews­bury is the right place for me.” Abo came to Eng­land as a sev­enyear old from Su­dan, and it’s no great sur­prise that he and his brother have at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the Su­dan FA with their re­cent ex­ploits. “They have al­ready got in con­tact with me and my brother,” he said, “but I want to es­tab­lish my­self in the pro­fes­sional game here and do more be­fore I think about in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.” With all that’s go­ing on in his life right now, you can un­der­stand his un­will­ing­ness to rush into things. Oh, and he’s got his driv­ing test to­mor­row…

PIC­TURE: AMA Photos

ROAR TAL­ENT: Shrews­bury’s Abo Eisa cel­e­brates scor­ing against Bury and, in­set, brother Mo en­joys net­ting for Chel­tenham

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