Abel Ogwuche, a rising star for the Nigeria U-20 Team, discusses his aspirations, motivation, and his humble beginnings
Flying Eagles star, Abel Ogwuche, described his incredible journey from the slums of Minna to playing for the nation’s Flying Eagles in the coveted FIFA U-20 World Cup in a gripping interview with Soccernet.ng.
The promising 19-year-old centre-back, who currently plies his trade at Swedish side Trelleborgs FF, has been instrumental in bolstering Ladan Bosso’s team defence, leading them to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
With clean sheets in their victories against Italy and Argentina, Ogwuche’s solid performances have caught the attention of football enthusiasts worldwide.
Growing up in Minna, Ogwuche’s passion for the beautiful game was ignited by the ubiquitous nature of football in Nigeria. “Every child in Nigeria wants to play football, so it was just a normal thing to play football in school and also after we return from school,” Ogwuche reminisced.
His talent didn’t go unnoticed, as he soon caught the eye of scouts from Tripple 44 Academy, who recognized his immense potential.
For Ogwuche, family support has been an invaluable source of motivation. “My family has been extremely proud and amazed at the same time,” he revealed.
From not being able to afford transportation just two years ago to showcasing his skills on the global stage, Ogwuche’s rise to prominence is undoubtedly a source of joy for his loved ones.
When asked about the players who have had the biggest influence on his career, Ogwuche was quick to mention Sergio Ramos, the revered Spanish defender. “I would say Sergio Ramos… I admire him a lot and what he has been able to achieve in his career,” he shared, highlighting Ramos’ talent, aggression, and exceptional passing ability as qualities that inspire him to reach new heights.
Reflecting on their exhilarating encounter with Argentina, Ogwuche exuded confidence despite the challenge they posed. “Playing against Argentina isn’t intimidating… I’m a very confident player who’s confident in my abilities,” he declared.
Drawing motivation from their previous encounter, he expressed delight in securing a sweet revenge for the Nigerian team, acknowledging the formidable presence of Lionel Messi, whom he regards as the greatest player of all time.
As the conversation shifted towards the team’s aspirations in the tournament, Ogwuche’s focus remained grounded. While agreeing with Daniel Bameyi’s assertion that the Flying Eagles of Nigeria can win the U-20 World Cup, Ogwuche preferred to direct his attention to the next game rather than discussing the trophy. “I’m confident we can continue to push game by game,” he asserted, emphasizing the importance of taking it step by step and maintaining a diligent approach.
Looking ahead, Ogwuche shared his long-term dreams, demonstrating his ambition and determination to excel. “My next goal is to play Champions League football and then to be the best in Africa and one of the best in the world in my position,” he revealed.
The youngster credited his growth at Tripple 44 Academy, where the focus was pushing graduates to play for the world’s top clubs, as the driving force behind his aspirations.
Switching gears, the interview shifted to Tripple 44 Chairman Olatunji Okuku, who expressed immense pride in Ogwuche’s accomplishments. “Of course, I’m very proud. One of our graduates is making a name for himself in the world and doing very well at the World Cup,” Okuku said.
He further emphasized that Ogwuche’s journey is far from over, affirming his belief that the young defender has, even more, to offer in the future.
Describing Ogwuche’s character, Okuku painted a portrait of a selfless, down-to-earth individual. He narrated instances of Ogwuche’s generosity, such as bringing boots and balls back to the academy for his friends and offering his apartment to a fellow player on trial at Trelleborgs FF, showcasing his humility and willingness to support others. “He’s a great person, and that’s who Abel Ogwuche is,” Okuku concluded with pride.
— Copa Mundial FIFA 🏆 (@fifaworldcup_es) May 25, 2023
Regarding Ogwuche’s character, Okuku shares heartwarming anecdotes, saying, “Abel Ogwuche has always been a very selfless human being… He’s an extremely polite individual, very humble and full of smiles always… He’s very down to earth… he’s a great person, and that’s who Abel Ogwuche is.”
Looking ahead, Okuku envisions Ogwuche’s future, saying, “I see Abel playing in a very top league in the next five years… I also foresee him in the Super Eagles very soon.”
This is the second time they’re displaying Abel Ogwuche on the board in Argentina as the player to watch.🥶🥶 pic.twitter.com/KUHLmHJnZd
— Okuku Olatunji (@Okukubabaoru) May 24, 2023
Ladan Bosso’s men face South Korea today in what is likely to be a pivotal encounter, with the winner facing Italy in the Semi-final. Ogwuche is, however, expected to play a crucial role in the contest.