Chikeluba Ofoedu has been a sensation during the first 12 rounds of the Nigeria Premier League 2012. Ofoedu is top scorer at Rangers International FC, the current league leaders, with 5 goals. Two of the goals has been scored from the penalty spot. Ofoedu has not only impressed with goals – he has shown a lot of quality in general and he has already become a popular name amongst foreign scouts, as well as officials from various Nigerian national football teams, including Stephen Keshi. Ofoedu is mostly used as a striker but he can also play as an attacking midfielder.
The current season is the first season at top level for Ofoedu. In 2010-2011, Ofoedu was attached to an amateur club called UNTH FC, based in the city Enugu, southeastern Nigeria. Brendan Ogbu, the star striker at Heartland FC, started his career at the same club. Ogbu, who scored 11 goals for Rangers International FC in the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011, was presented in my post from 11.06.2011: https://westafricanfootball.com/2011/06/11/brendan-ogbu/.
In January 2012, Ofoedu and Ogbu travelled to Tunisia for a trial period at Espérance Sportive de Tunis from the Tunisian capital. According to Tunisian media sources, Ofoedu was 19 years at the time, suggesting he is born in 1992.
None of the players won a contract at the Tunisian side and Ogbu signed for Heartland FC instead. Interestingly, it was eventually Ofoedu who replaced Ogbu at Rangers International FC.
Uche George, one of my contacts in Nigeria, has seen Ofoedu in action several times. Here is his interesting profile of this talented player:
“Chikeluba Ofoedu is the type of player you only need to watch once to be impressed, he’s obviously having a great run of form at the moment. Ofoedu is a quite stocky, athletically built player. Very mobile and ceases every little opportunity to mount tireless pressure on opposing defenders. His ball control is terrific, and his ability to hold unto the ball is also good, his footwork is also good. I’ll rate his shooting ability above average, maybe a 6.5/10. A striking thing about this player is the aura of confidence and self-belief that surrounds him, this is something that’s not common with NPL players. That why after just a few games, he already has a huge followership from the fans. His workrate is fair enough, reminds me of Obafemi Martins. Personally, i think with his technical and tactical abilities it’ll be hard for Rangers to to keep him in the NPL for too long. If he continues to play the way he does, he’ll have a great future. But i think for all his ball control and all, he needs to improve on his aerial abilty.”
In March 2012, MTN Football described Ofoedu as a “good finisher” who “dribbles very well, takes on defenders with reckless abandon and can shoot very well with both feet”. Further, he was described as an “all-round attacker who takes risks to find the back of the net in every game he plays”.
The captain of Rangers International FC, James Okwuosa (born 14.09.1990), has been quoted saying the following: “In training, he is a very difficult customer for any defender marking him and he has taken this mind set into games and we are the better for it”.
The full name of Ofoedu is “Chikeluba Francis Ofoedu”. He is sometimes referred to as “Pato” after his Brazilian hero Alexandre Pato at AC Milan of Italy.
The picture of Ofoedu is taken from MTN Football.