When Chiedozie Ogbene was introduced as a substitute in the 89th minute of the Republic of Ireland’s 0-0 friendly draw with Hungary on 8 June, it marked a significant milestone for both player and country.
The 24-year-old Rotherham winger became the first Africa-born player to be capped by the Republic at senior level.
“It was a special moment for me and my family,” explained Ogbene, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria in May 1997.
“We had a different journey. My father got a job opportunity and brought his family across to settle in Ireland in 2005 and I grew up in Cork, learnt the culture and integrated with the system.
“Stephen [Kenny, Republic of Ireland manager] wanted me to declare for Ireland and I showed interest.
“There were a lot of complications with the registration and how I came into the country but to carry that title of being the first Africa-born player is very special.
“To see how proud I’ve made my family and the people of Cork, it’s priceless. The support in Ireland is amazing.”