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Thursday 19 October 2017

Sule: 'Red tape denied me a cap but I still hope for U21 call'

Fuad's form clinches July award

Bohemians’ Fuad Sule is pictured with his SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for July at Dalymount Park
Bohemians’ Fuad Sule is pictured with his SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Award for July at Dalymount Park

Fuad Sule has spent much of 2017 juggling enough in his life to make the head spin.

Training with Bohemians, trying to win, and then keep a place in the first team; studying for his university degree; office life as an intern; and much of that while fasting for ramadan as a good Muslim should.

But the Nigerian-born, Dublin-raised midfielder, who was this week named as July's player of the month by the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers Association of Ireland (the first player from the club to land that award in seven long years) still has more to do.

First up is the beginning of what he hopes will be a long and fruitful FAI Cup run, his Bohs side in action away to Finn Harps tonight.

Bohs put on probably their worst display of the season in their last visit to Ballybofey so arrogance will be left behind before the squad hit the road north.

"We beat Harps earlier in the season at home but lost 2-1 up there, which was by far not one of our greatest performances, we deservedly lost that one but a cup game brings a different mentality, the tie has to be decided on the night and we have to leave everything on the pitch, hopefully we come out on the right side of it," says Sule.

"It's been drilled into us this week, we need a good cup run, to give the fans something. No one is expecting anything of us this season given the type of club we are and the budget we have, no one expects us to be world beaters but a good cup run would be a good end to the season, personally and collectively, we take it each game at a time and try to finish the season on a high."

A Cup run is one aim, but international progress is also on the agenda for the 20-year-old who landed up at Bohs after spells on the fringes with Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic.

In the past red tape has denied the soft-spoken Dub an Ireland cap, Sule unable to join the Irish U17s for a Euro qualifying tournament as he didn't have an Irish passport.

"When I was much, much younger, I was in home-based squads for training camps and that, but I never played officially as I have only been officially an Irish citizen for two years now, paperwork was the main reason why I couldn't," he says.

"Hopefully now with the performances I have been putting in, I can put thoughts in the Under-21 manager's head. That would be a personal ambition now, if I keep performing and playing well hopefully I'll be in with a shout."

His form in midfield is one of the reasons why Keith Long's side have moved from the relegation zone into the top six, Sule coming to Bohs with a point to prove to his former club as he managed just one appearance at St Pat's.

Though his form did drop in mid-season, a consequence of fasting, as he was expected to do during ramadan. "The fasting took a big toll on me, I lost loads of weight and muscle that I had put on in the off-season to prepare for the league," he says.

"My manager was pulling his hair because obviously my energy levels weren't as high as the other lads, because I had no food in me. But I'd never shirk off training, or say, 'I'm not training because I'm fasting', I'd always train.

"But I'm back to normal now and everything is okay, hopefully I'll finish the season strong," Sule added.

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