Sun. May 22nd, 2022


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.”

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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