Indian Super League: Hyderabad FC sign Mumbai City striker Bartholomew Ogbeche

The 36-year-old striker, who won the ISL double of the League Winner’s Shield and the ISL Trophy with Mumbai City last season, has signed a one-year deal.

Hyderabad FC sign striker Bartholomew Ogbeche; Credit: HFC

Hyderabad FC have completed the signing of Indian Super League’s third-highest goalscorer Bartholomew Ogbeche, the club announced. The Nigerian striker is expected to add experience to their attack ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season. The 36-year-old striker, who won the ISL double of the League Winner’s Shield and the ISL Trophy with Mumbai City last season, has signed a one-year deal till the end of the 2021-22 campaign. Born in Nigeria, the striker has three goals in 11 caps for the Super Eagles. Famously, Ogbeche has bagged two caps for Nigeria at the 2002 FIFA World Cup against Argentina and Sweden respectively. He becomes the third new arrival at Hyderabad FC this season after youngsters Aaren D’Silva and Abdul Rabeeh.

“I am thrilled to have signed for Hyderabad FC. One could easily see from the outside that he (Manolo Marquez) has a clear idea about his style of play and what he wants from his players which is an admirable attribute that I find in him. I’m very excited to be playing under him,” said Ogbeche after completing formalities.

Starting his career with a seven-year stint in France with Paris Saint-Germain, Ogbeche netted 21 goals in 57 appearances for the first team, after graduating from the academy in 2001. He also played for Bastia and Metz in Ligue 1, before moving out to Al Jazira in the UAE (2005-06). Returning back to Europe, Ogbeche featured for Deportivo Alaves (2006-07) in the Segunda Division, before joining La Liga side Real Valladolid (2007-09) where he spent the next two campaigns.

He then spent the following two seasons with Cadiz in the Segunda Division and Kavala in the Greek Super League, before joining English Championship side Middlesbrough (2011-12). Following a season with Xerez back in Spain, Ogbeche moved to the Netherlands as he turned out for Cambuur (2013-15) and Willem II (2016-18) over the next five years, before moving to India in 2018 with NorthEast United.

Third top goalscorer in ISL history

In his first season in the ISL, Ogbeche scored 12 goals in 18 games, and followed it up with a sensational 15-goal campaign with Kerala Blasters in 2019-20. Notably, he continues to be the all-time top scorer for the two teams. The Nigerian spent the last season with Mumbai City, playing a key role in their successful campaign, scoring eight crucial goals in 23 games to help his side to a double.

With 35 goals to his name in the ISL, Ogbeche currently stands as the third all-time top-goal scorer in the Indian Super League to date. He has registered 0.61 goals per 90 minutes in his ISL career. Speaking about his targets at HFC, Ogbeche added, “Helping Hyderabad achieve success by making it to the playoffs is going to be a huge challenge, but one that I believe can be achieved with the help of everyone at the club.”

HFC head coach Manolo Marquez feels that the experience of Ogbeche will be a huge addition to the squad at the club. “Ogbeche is a player that all football fans know. He has played in the top leagues in France, Spain, and the Netherlands, and even in the FIFA World Cup with Nigeria. He will be obviously an important player for our club,” he said.

“These kinds of players are always necessary in a team. Ogbeche will be important on and off the pitch, and his influence will be bigger if the squad is young. He is the third top goalscorer in ISL history, having scored goals for NorthEast, Kerala and Mumbai. The striker is always a main part of a team, and we are very happy to have Ogbeche with us.”

Sportslumo Desk

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