Lagos – Rangers International FC of Enugu and other soccer pundits have expressed joy over home-based Super Eagles Ejike Uzoenyi’s professional soccer deal with the Orlando Pirates of South Africa.
The move followed Uzoenyi’s brilliant performance at the just-ended third African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.
The Eagles were three goals down against Morocco in the quarter-finals of the competition at Cape Town Stadium when Uzoenyi scored the equalizer in the 90th minute.
Uzoenyi, a player with Rangers was voted CHAN Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the championship.
Rangers’ spokesperson, Forster Chime, on telephone, said that the club would never cease producing players for the national team.
Chime added that Rangers would not to stop its players from honouring national team call up at any time, since national assignment was paramount than club assignment.
“We have three other players at the tournament, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Chigozie Agbim, and Christian Obiozor, who did not only participated but were useful throughout the tournament.
“Uzoenyi won the best player at the tournament while Obiozor won the bronze for the country with his only debut goal of the tournament.
“As it stands, the four players are being circled by foreign clubs, while the Eagles team B Captain, Agbim’s contract has terminated with us,” he said.
Also speaking, Chinaedu Efugh, the Captain, Heartland FC of Owerri said that Uzoenyi’s 90th minute equalizer deserved him the deal.
“I am happy for him; his rise is a beckon of hope for us in the national league, his progress will have a ripple effect on our league.
“I doff my hat for him; it is a welcome development for the home-based Eagles,” Efugh said.
Isah Akor also of Heartland said that the player’s ascendancy to higher grounds in his career depicted resilience and better reward for a player who had been consistent.
“Uzoenyi is one Nigeria player that should be emulated by upcoming players if they wish to make an appreciable mark in the round-leather sport,” the striker said.
Edwin Eze, the Coordinator, Enugu Pepsi Football Academy and Director of Information, Enugu Sports Ministry, said that Uzoenyi deserved all the accolades.
“We have yet to see the best of him, he is somebody I know from the beginning, with good mentoring, the player will hit stardom soon,” he said.
He then appealed to Coach Stephen Keshi to enlist Uzoenyi in the team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Similarly, Warri Wolves centre-half Azubuike Egwuekwe and Sunshine Stars Solomon Kwambe are likely to join South African teams with World Cup-bound Egwuekwe hoping to join Bidvest Wits. (NAN)