Rivers united forward, Chukwuemeka Ogbugh is one of the few players who combined professional football with education. The graduate of Marketing from Imo State University and son of a pastor barred his mind to on his knack for wonder goals and sundry issues.

NSG: How are you preparing for the league resumption?

Ogbugh: I just recovered from an injury I sustained during our win over Plateau United some two months ago. I have been working really hard to get back to full fitness. And there is good progress in that direction. By the time the league resumes, I should be fully ready.

NSG: How far do you think Rivers United can go by the time the season ends?

Ogbugh has tipped Rivers United for a continental ticket

Ogbugh: Rivers united,we are actually very much prepared to go for the continental ticket. We also have our eyes set on the Federation Cup. We are very hungry to return to the continent. That is a major driving force as we try to finish high up the table.

NSG: How was it combining education and football?

Ogbugh: It was challenging but I was focused on achieving my target. One will not play football all his life. There should be something to fall back on after my career. So I am happy that I am a graduate now and done with youth service as well. Combining education with football is something that needs plenty of commitment and dedication It was not easy to combine them but my family actually helped me in that regard. I studied Marketing in Imo State University.

He met Fernando Torres during the NPFL All Stars tour of Spain.

NSG: Personally, are you on course to realising your goals in football?

Ogbugh: Yea I’m on course to realizing my goals. Making the people happy by the gift God has given me is just a dream come true. That’s the most important thing. Any other thing is a bonus.

NSG: The turning point in your career was that Imo State FA Cup final between Heartland and your club then, Campos FC. Did you go into that match to prove a point?

Ogbugh: Yes that game was really a turning point. The match is very fresh in my memory. I just had in mind to win the game and to enjoy the game too and I was favored by God to have joined heartland afterwards.

NSG: Your father is a pastor, what impact did that have in your career?

Ogbugh: My dad being a Reverend played a very nice role in my career and life. He will always tell me to stand out from the crowd. I grew up with it and actually stood on God’s side.

Prayer has been key to his progress

NSG: You were part of the NPFL All Stars that toured Spain and the CHAN 2018 squad, are you already in dream land?

Ogbugh: (Laughs) Dream land already? Well I have to Thank God for the opportunity but would be in dream Land when I play at the World Cup and eventually lifting the trophy. The ultimate dream of every footballer is to be at the World Cup. I’m yet to achieve that. Anything happening now is a child’s play compared to that ultimate dream.

NSG: So when are you moving abroad?

Ogbugh: I don’t do things in a hurry. I like to take my time and be patient. I will move abroad in God’s own time.

NSG: You have won the VAT wonder goal a couple of times. What’s this thing about you and wonder goals? Do you set out to score wonder goals?

Ogbugh: I’m so much concerned about technique in kicking balls, so that’s why I catch the goal keepers unawares with thosestrikes. I always like to hit the ball when the keeper isn’t expecting it. That’s why most times when I score, they are television goals, not the type you see everyday. It is not as if before a match I will decide to score a wonder goal. It is just that my style of play make it so. Most times, I like to cut in from the flank and shoot. If the technique is right, the goal will simply be wonderful.

He has quick feet that helps him get beyond opponents

NSG: Considering your humble beginning, any plans to give back to the society particularly that environment where you grew up?

Ogbugh: Yea I have a great intention about going into grassroots because I know how it helped me to get to where I am now. I’m working towards that. Nobody ever forgets his roots.

NSG: What was the feeling like, that moment Heartland offered you, a rookie, the opportunity to play professional football?

Ogbugh: I was really honoured to be offered a chance to play for Heartland. I can remember when the club secretary told me when I was signing one of the forms then and he said he hopes that when I hear noise from the spectators that I won’t be afraid. I just laughed over it. And I replied him after one season and he said that I have a big heart.

Ogbugh meeting President Muhammadu Buhari during a reception for the CHAN Eagles

NSG: And you won the Federation Cup in your first season.

Ogbugh: The FA cup final was a memorable one because that was my first major trophy in my career. So it’s one I cherish a lot. It was more precious because I started in the final match. It was such a glorious moment.

NSG: What’s your advice foryoung and upcoming playing?

Ogbugh: I urge them to be disciplined,dedicated and committed to their job. And again, self-belief is also key to moulding their careers. And most importantly, they should always involve God in all they do.

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