How Good Is Chiedozie Ogbene? – A Limerick Fan’s View

How Good Is Chiedozie Ogbene? – A Limerick Fan’s View
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With Brentford making a solitary signing this transfer window, Billy Grant caught up with Steve Taylor – the outgoing Chair of Limerick FC Official Supporters Club – to get the lowdown on Brentford’s new attacking midfielder Chiedoze Ogbene.

So who Exactly Is Chiedoze Ogbene? What’s he like?
Chiedozie (Dozie) hails from Nigeria. Arriving in Ireland in 2005 he started playing both Football and Gaelic football and was impressive at both. It was Cork City FC academy who spotted him and took him through their underage ranks.

Ogbene first came to Limerick’s attention in 2015 when he played in the Dr Tony O’Neill Cup final for Cork City FC U19. They beat Limerick FC U19 to lift the trophy. He continued playing for Cork City U19s – gradually making his way into the senior team where he started to bang the goals in. Chiedozie also made a substitute appearance in the FAI cup final in 2016 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin which Cork won. He also won the Enda MCGuill Cup which is the U19 League Cup that year to add to his medal tally.

Limerick signed him at the beginning of the 2017 season to the dismay of Cork City fans (the League of Ireland plays Summer football – end of Feb until October). The offer of a full-time contract and regular first team football is how we managed to lure him to Limerick (stole according to bitter Cork City fans). That foresight paid off with him making 37 competitive appearances, scoring 10 goals.

What position does he play? Can he play striker?
Chiedozie is listed as an attacking central midfielder, but he can play on either wing very effectively. He is dangerous when he is given free rein to roam.

Attacking is the word as his pace and runs have caused turmoil in the opposition defences – resulting usually in them taking him down in dangerous areas as they struggle to cope. His old team-mates from his previous team – current Champions Cork City – struggled to contain him when we played them towards the the end of the season in the league and also in the FAI cup semi final – which Cork eventually won by a narrow margin.

I see no problem playing him as a striker  but is more effective when he can run at defences. He’s not a goal poacher and not over-effective in the air being only 5 ft 8 ins.

He is not lazy and will track back and defend. But his main strength is that he is very dangerous on the break.

What are his strengths?
He has a humble and pleasant personality but with air of confidence. He is so eager to learn – building on his strengths but working with the coaches to tackle those weaknesses

For example at the beginning of the 2017 season, the jury was out on him. Supporters were questioning why Cork City fans were so upset about losing him. He was running with the ball with pace but was going no where – many-a-time losing control and running out of play. 

Joe Gamble – Limerick’s Strength and Conditioning coach – worked on his body strength whilst the coaching staff worked on his feet to ball skills. After that, Chiedozie was awarded the Supporters Club Player of the Month for June and also July.

He has able to run at players whilst cutting in and out – making space for himself to take shots whilst also delivering meaningful crosses. Experienced defenders struggled to deal with his runs – panicing by either taking him out or making defensive mistakes.

He has a desire to constantly improve himself – choosing Brentford after being impressed by the quality of the coaching staff.op

That just about sums him up. 

Apparently’s also played in a European tournament.
Yes he has. The UEFA Youth League is a competition for domestic U19 Champion teams in Europe. Chiedozie played in the Cork City side that beat HJK Helsinki over two legs and had a decent showing against Roma.

We discussed Chiedozie on the Pride Of West London podcast (below) with Kev from Blue Army.  Yes he’s pretty young. At 20 years old he’s not quite a youth team player. But at the same time, he’s not an experienced pro

He may be young but he has experienced far more than than a lot of young English players will ever have done at this stage of their career. The fact that Chelsea had been watching him and took him on trial – as did Aston Villa and Ipswich Town – proves that he has impressed. He has had a season of regular first team football in a Division that is top League One standard.  Most teams in it would give many English Championship teams a very stern test.

He is still young but has more gained more quality competitive football time that players in English Premier League U23 teams.

Preston recently signed Daryl Horgan from Dundalk – where we will be next Wednesday watching the B-team take them on – and Sean Maguire from Cork. These were big buzz Ireland players. How does Chiedoze compare?
It’s is his youth that stands out. He is, in my opinion, a more accomplished player than Horgan and Maguire were at his age. Check out Soccer Republic’s Facebook Page below and the individual goal he scored against Bray Wanderers in September last year.  He is versatile either attacking through the middle, or on either wing and adept at using both feet as well as being a grafter.


 He will settle down in England a lot quicker than most who move over to the UK, which has been the downfall of many footballers trying to ply their trade in the UK.

Limerick will have been paid a decent amount for Chiedoze – rumoured to be a few hundred thousand euros. Will this set the club up for the future or would you rather he he stayed at the club and maybe fired you into the qualifying rounds of the Europa cup or even the Champions League?
Limerick FC are a full-time professional team who play in the SSE Airtricity League Of Ireland Premier Division. The league  consists of a restructured two Divisions of ten teams each. The Premier League being the top division and the First Division being the next tier down.

Last season there were 12 teams in the Premiership with the bottom three teams going down. The Premiership is full time and the First Division is mainly Part time.

Limerick FC finished in 7th place.

Martin Russell was our Manager at the beginning of the season, but was released in April after a poor start to the season. It is owned by a local businessman Pat O’Sullivan who brought Limerick back to its spiritual home ground of Markets Field after moving from ground to ground since the late 80’s. This stability has brought a bigger following with it.

Cork City FC average around 4,500 a match with Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers behind them. Football in Ireland has struggled with Sky Sports coverage with many young fans supporting teams like Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United. Most older fans will be fans of Leeds Utd and Liverpool. I’m from Blackburn myself and hence a Rovers supporter for evermore.

But attendances are growing (23% increase in 2017 on 2016) and the standard of football is improving. Look at Dundalk in Europe in 2016 and previously Shamrock Rovers. As I said earlier, the standard of football – especially in the Premier Division – is on a par with League One and Cork City would be challenging for a top 10 position in the Championship. 

Would I have preferred Chiedozie to stay and help qualify for Europe? Definitely yes. But all League of Ireland teams need more revenue and whatever the amount is, it’ll keep us competing at a good level this season with a high calibre of player across the squad.

Europe is our goal. But stabilisation is priority. We will then invest in our academy as well as bring in some experienced players in to build a team. Chiedozie’s team-mate Barry Cotter signed for Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee just as the window closed. Another home-grown U19 player, maybe it’s Limerick FC’s loss in one way. But it could be a win for the Club in terms of building a team for Europe and also a stronger Republic of Ireland team in the near future. 

Are your supporters currently planning a trip to London to watch him play?
Yes definitely the supporters will go over and watch Dozie. But saying that, we’re hoping he comes over to play Limerick in a friendly in your pre-season. Hopefully he will be in the squad when Brentford B-team play Dundalk (Wed 7th Feb) and Shamrock Rovers (Sat 10th Feb) on their mini-tour of Ireland and if so, we may pop over to see him.

Billy Grant




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About The Author

BillytheBee Grant

Following Brentford for 30 years plus now.. write .. blog .. videoblog .. podcast ... photograph .. sleep .. Brentford.. am known to attend the occasional England match too (12 tournaments now) so am hardened to failure ...On the board and national council of the Football Supporters Federation.... organised husky dog racing for a living back in the day ... as you do ..You don't wanna go up!!

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