Kerala Blasters FC have not been at their best in this season so far. With four draws, four disappointing losses and just a sole victory, Eelco Schattorie’s men haven’t been unable to cope with the inevitablility of surmounting performance pressure.
In order to strengthen their attack, Blasters brought Bartholomew Ogbeche from NorthEast United after the Nigerian striker struck 12 goals in 18 appearances in the 2018-2019 Indian Super League campaign. But the Blasters have failed to capitalize on the form of the 35-year-old forward.
Ogbeche’s resume is nothing short of impressive. The Nigerian made his debut with French giant, Paris Saint Germain back in 2001 at a mere age of 17 and served two six-month loan spells at Bastia and Metz. At PSG, Ogbeche made 75 appearances and could only manage 18 goals but the quality of the striker was what turned heads across.
His time in France was followed by a short spell in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) with Al-Jazira before moving to Spain in 2006 with Deportivo Alaves. He went on to play for Real Valladolid and Cadiz CF in Spain till 2010. However, his most successful tenure was with a Dutch side named SC Cambuur where the 35-year-old scored 24 goals during his 57 outings for the club.
Playing in the Netherlands allowed Ogbeche to gain some consistency and develop new skills that the striker had been missing for quite some time. It was this overall development which encouraged ISL’s side NorthEast United to bring Ogbeche to India and he ended up signing for the club in 2018.
📽 | "Playing with Bartholomew Ogbeche is a dream for me."— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 20, 2019
Some say it’s a dream to play with Messi, but @KeralaBlasters forward Messi Bouli is loving playing alongside Bartholomew Ogbeche! 💛 #CFCKBFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/6MhdJYM1sQ
“A player needs a platform to perform but the only way to develop is by playing games.” This statement made by Kerala’s coach Schattorie holds completely true for Ogbeche whose ascent has been phenomenal to say the least. After coming on board with the Blasters, Ogbeche has missed a couple of games for his side, having scored three goals in seven games so far.
The Blasters have been enduring a tough run of form in the ISL and Ogbeche is the answer with the immaculate experience he brings of playing across the world. Despite his age, the Nigerian fits into the plans of Schattorie’s high pressing system quite nicely.
Kerala have won just one game in the entire season so far and if the club wants to perform well in the second half of the season, they need Ogbeche fit and firing on all cylinders. The availability of Mario Arques is a crucial factor in this as the Nigerian thrives operating in front of a playmaker which was evident last year with Federico Gallego at NorthEast United.
It is hoped the Blasters go into the new year with a fresher perspective with Ogbeche as their frontrunner.
Featured image courtesy: Twitter/@ Kerala Blasters