IRISH international Chiedozie Ogbene has had a rise like very few within football as the Nigerian born winger has moved up the ranks from League Of Ireland to the national team and earned a move to England to play at a higher level.
The 24 year old moved from Lagos, Nigeria to Cork with his family in 2005, attending Bunscoil Chríost Rí. The mercurial wide man also took part in playing Gaelic Football for Nemo Rangers.
Ogbene played for Munster Senior League clubs including College Corinthians and Tramore Atheltic. In August 2015 he signed for Cork City and instantly made an impact for the underage sides winning the Enda McGuill cup with the under-19 squad before making the leap to the senior team winning the FAI Cup.
Following a string of exciting performances, Ogbene moved to another Munster side in Limerick in 2017. Within a short space of time the winger had again made his presence known with several stunning displays which saw him nominated for the League of Ireland Player of the Month award on several occasions. The attacking playmaker soon was linked to many top clubs within the English game, with the likes of Aston villa and many more linked to his services.
It didn’t take long for the rumours of a move to England to play at a higher level became a reality for the African born player. In January of 2018 he earned a move to Brentford, signing a three and a half year deal with the Bees for an undisclosed fee.
Ogbene made his debut for the side in April of the same year. However this time would have to wait for more opportunities as after only one more performance for the side he would see himself move on loan to Exeter City in August to impress there and hope another chance would come back his way for his parent club.
Returning from his loan spell, the young, newly capped Irish international would be surplus to requirements for Brentford, moving to fellow English side Rotherham United for another undisclosed fee on a three year deal. His skill and raw talent would aid the side in their push for promotion, which was a success in the 2019-20 season.
The pacey and electric player has gone from strength to strength after his impressive season with Limerick in 2017, scoring eight goals in 32 games. Ogbene would impress again for Rotherham years later to earn himself a place in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad. Following some injuries in years past, the Nigerian man would finally see his hard work and talent pay off as he was named in the International side to face Andorra and Hungary.
The former Limerick FC man was eligible for the Nigerian national side, however chose to offer his services to the Boys in Green. The fast paced winger who grew up in Cork would make his national debut on the 8th of June against Hungary and in doing so became the first African-born player to be capped by and represent the Republic of Ireland.
Following the debut Ogbene stated:
“To get an opportunity on this big stage is truly a blessing… A big moment for myself and my family, I want to inspire any young player”.
“I’ve learned a lot, the experience…I want to inspire everyone else to follow your dreams”.
Watch Ogbene react to his appearance for Ireland against Hungary in June:
Looking ahead to the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers for Ireland, Ogbene mentioned his desire to again be named in Kenny’s side and prove his worth once more as he added,
“I’ve gotten the first taste of it, I’m more hungry now for more, I’m more driven.”
Ogbene will look to continue his impressive form for club and country and will not let his talents be the only catalyst for his success. His attitude illustrates why he has had such a quick rise in the sport as he again reiterated his ambition to continue representing the Irish national team.
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