Kudus Oyenuga: Playing abroad and seeing a new culture is amazing

It may not have been a long period of time which Kudus Oyenuga got to spend abroad but it was a spell which he still remembers fondly and Finland will always be the country which gave him his senior football debut.

The 25-year-old forward is currently on loan at Isthmian League Premier Division side Haringey Borough from National League South side Dartford but back in 2011, he had just signed a new two-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur and was looking for his first chance of senior football.

“MyPa came out the blue,” he says. “I was training with the youth team and reserves when Tim Sherwood and Chris Ramsey told me there was an opportunity to go. Jake Nicholson had already been out there at the time and he was enjoying it, so I thought it’d be good to get some experience.”

In 2011, MyPa, based in the south of the country just north of Helsinki, were beginning their 20th season in a row in the top flight of Finnish football. In March of that year, fellow Spurs youngster Jake Nicholson had been loaned out to the club and has already played twice for the club in the League Cup prior to Oyenuga’s arrival at the club. Being just 18 at the time, it helped the young forward to have a familiar face by his side on his arrival in Finland.

“It was really good having Jake out there, we were close friends anyways, so settling in with him was good as when you leave home, to have someone around is always good to have.”

Having his friend in the country also had some other perks too.

“The club sorted out our accommodation. Jake had already had a place so I moved in with him and we took turns with who did the cooking!

“It was really good, Jake had brought his car out with him so we could get to training with no problems. The club also gave us a card so we could do our shopping on so we were never out of pocket.”

Jake Nicholson (left) and Kudus Oyenuga (right) during their time with MyPa

So with his friend and the club helping him to settle into his new surroundings, the young forward was ready to make his mark on the pitch. He made his senior debut as a substitute in the Suomen Cup (equivalent to the FA Cup) quarter-finals as his side narrowly lost 2-1 to HJK, the eventual winners of the cup.

A week later, he made his league debut, again as a substitute and after only a couple of appearances, the Spurs loanee had already got an appreciation for the standard of the top flight of Finnish football.

“The standard was really good, some people who have not been out there may not think it is but the players were very technical and had a good understanding of the game,” he says.

Oyenuga then made a third substitute appearance the following weekend as his bond with his teammates started to grow despite having only been in the country for a short period of time.

” I found it easy settling in Finland,” he says. “The players and coaching staff all spoke English too so the communication was so easy. Myself and Jake went on a night out with some of the boys the odd night as well but most of the time we trained and went home and prepared really well.”

Oyenuga in Dartford colours

The Londoner would get the chance to make one more appearance for MyPa, finally making his first start as he signed off his loan spell in Finland with four appearances in all competitions. His roommate Nicholson made five appearances during his spell. In hindsight, Oyenuga would have preferred to have stayed in the country for longer and would be open to playing abroad once more.

“Looking back on my time, I wish I stayed longer until more of the summer period. I guess everything happens for a reason but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

“If the right opportunity came a long to play abroad, I’d be interested. I’m much older now and have kids so I’d just have to weigh it up but I feel playing abroad and seeing a new culture is an amazing thing.”

Since his spell in Finland, the 25-year-old has played in League One and League Two, as well as in the top two flights in Scotland. It may not have been a long spell abroad but it was certainly a memorable one for the former Tottenham man.


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