He could have left, but… Slavia is my family, we have the same ambitions, says Ogbu

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Mentioning in front of him that there was interest in him in the elite leagues won’t do anything to him. “I am concentrating on the present and on Slavia. I want to be the best footballer possible and continue to play at this great address,” he emphasizes before taking a drink of still water. “I don’t deal with unrealized transfers, my only ambition for the spring is to win and be the champion of the Czech Republic.”

That’s all he is, he’s obsessed with winning. After arriving from Lilleström, Norway, he wore the number 5 jersey and after the successful final of the Czech Cup with Sparta, he danced enthusiastically in front of the celebrating fans. “Slavia has become my family, this club means a lot to me. He has great ambitions and so do I, we really found each other,” he says passionately.

Fans love his immediacy and reliability, teammates call him Iggy. In the autumn, he missed only three league games and his two goals helped to the first place in the Europa League group. “Goals are nice, a lot of people think like that. But you know what was the most for me? The way we played all fall. We fought as a team and it paid off. The round of 16 of the Europa League awaits us, and we are second in the league, a bit below Sparta,” reminds Ogbu.

In fluent English, he tells how, as a boy, he changed out of his school uniform at home and used to help his mother in her restaurant: “She always believed in me. And I’m sure she would love me even if I didn’t become a professional footballer. Now she’s proud of me.” My father died last year.

As a teenager, Ogbu junior left Nigeria for Norway, where he got used to European football and struggled with harsh winters. He stayed there for five years. “It was hard to leave home and family. But I kept thinking that I have my dream and I want to be successful. I concentrated on football and it paid off,” he recalls.

“Compared to Norway, the Czech Republic is nowhere near as cold even in winter, you have to take a much warmer jacket and shoes there. And during that year, I really liked Prague. Amazing place! I don’t have much free time, but I like to walk around the city, I clear my head perfectly,” describes the nice guy with braids in his hair.

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He is fast, selfless and uncompromising and joins the popular tandem of African stoppers Simon Deli & Michael Ngadeu in the Vršovice team. And his value is growing: Slavia bought Ogbua a year ago for around 40 million crowns, but now his price tag is much higher. “The Czech league suits me. I made a good step, I can still grow here. It’s a tough competition, every match tests you a lot,” he explains enthusiastically.

He’s not in a hurry, at twenty-three he still has plenty of time. Even on the national team, his Nigeria advanced to the quarter-finals of the African Championship. “I’m sorry I’m not there, but I’m proud of the boys and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them,” he says matter-of-factly. “Nigeria is my home. Every player dreams of representing her and donning the green jersey. It’s the same for everyone: you have to wait for the right moment when your country calls you.” In his case, it wouldn’t take that long.

The article is in Czech

Tags: left but .. Slavia family ambitions Ogbu

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