Nigeria’s new kid on the block, Ejike Uzoenyi of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu has attracted a lot of interests since his full international debut with the Super Eagles in Kigali penultimate week.
His exploits with the Daniel Amokachi home-based Eagles were crowned with the WAFU Cup triumph in 2010 in Abeokuta. The exciting winger is profiled below by one of Nigeria’s foremost sports journalists, Edwin Eze who has been following Uzoenyi’s progress since his days as a starry-eyed kid in Enugu. Read on:
Nigeria’s Super Eagles home based player Ejike Uzoenyi who dazzled soccer fans in Rwanda in the Nation’s Cup qualify match, is a child of destiny. The young Ejike Uzoenyi started playing football at the age of six in primary school, but was picked up by Pepsi Academy Technical team Enugu at the age of 10. He was exposed to competitive football in Ado Ekiti in 1999 at the age of 10 when he played in a demonstration match at Ado Ekiti during the launch of Pepsi Academy in the old western city as an U-12 player. Ever since, the Ado Ekiti, exposure he has remained unstoppable. Known in football circle at a tender age as ‘Codo’, a short name for Commando, Ejike Uzoenyi started football as a super attacking midfielder.
He had Played and captained Enugu Pepsi Academy U-14 and later U-16 team before he left the Academy, in 2002 to join Ida Lions from where he joined other teams like Gateway FC Abeokuta, Enyimba FC Aba, etc. before he returned to Rangers three years ago.
He is a senior Pepsi Player who according to their record is senior to Solomon Okoronkwo, but a year junior to Onyedika Ogbuke in Pepsi Academy Enugu.
I, as Coordinator of Pepsi Academy in the South East, was among the first people to discover Ejike’s abundant talent in the late 90s and pushed him to many competitions in the East and also Lagos.
The Picture I’m attaching shows Ejike Uzoenyi, a 10 year old player coming in as a substitute to 14 years old team mate in 1999 at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.