The youngster swapped Latvia for Germany in only his second year in Europe, and he has had to face and adapt to the everyday challenges of living in a top European nation
Tolu Arokodare is delighted to be one of the few Nigerian stars playing in the Bundesliga. Still, the Cologne forward admits it has not been easy adapting to life in Germany.
The former Golden Eaglets ace left Nigeria for Latvia last year, where his performances for Valmeiras helped him secure a loan move to the Billy Goats earlier this summer.
And Arokodare believes his Nigerian upbringing has aided his adaptation in Germany, but it has been difficult meeting the demands of a highly disciplined German society.
When asked by the club’s website about his biggest challenges at Cologne at the moment, Arokodare said: “I still have to get used to a lot of things. Everything here is more disciplined and simply more structured than in Latvia.
“I would describe myself as disciplined, but, in Germany, discipline is of a different standard here. In Freiburg, I learned how strict Germans are when it comes to things like being punctual. You have to know how important it is to stop and listen, to dress properly, and how to talk.
“In Nigeria, it is incredibly important to respect other people. In Germany, it’s also very important to show respect to one another. When it comes to respect, that isn’t difficult for me. The discipline, however, is new to me. The biggest challenge lies on the pitch, and I have to get used to the Bundesliga’s intensity.”
Tolu Arokodare is yet to open his goalscoring account for Cologne, firing blanks in the 38 minutes he has spent on the pitch in Bundesliga games.
But the young striker, who notched 22 goals in 32 games for Valmeiras, is focused on helping the struggling German side get their first win of the season.
“We are all concentrating on staying up at the minute,” he continued.
“We have three points now, and that is too few. We are working hard for our goal. I haven’t set any goals personally. If I help the team, that helps me as well. First, the team, then myself.”
Cologne face Union Berlin when the Bundesliga returns from the international break this weekend. Arokodare desires all three points from that match and the massive fixture against Borussia Dortmund afterwards.
“We want the first win,” he added.
“That would be really important for our confidence. Afterwards, it’s Dortmund and the next big task. Every game is incredibly important for us,” he concluded.