EXCLUSIVE: CFR Cluj striker Derick Ogbu talks to BeNefoot about his future
Article written by Bjorn De Cock aka The Belgian Patriot on Twitter.
Derick Ogbu, better known simply as Chuka, recently left Belgian football behind when he swapped OH Leuven for Romanian side CFR Cluj. I caught up with the forward, who joined OHL after a trial with PSV failed to lead to a permanent deal as the parties could not agree terms. OHL wasted no time in swooping for Chuka.
Chuka was clear when I asked him if he missed OH Leuven: “Yes, sure, I had two wonderful seasons with OH Leuven. Leuven is a great city and the fans are amazing. I miss the way they sung my name. Chuka! Chuka! in all of our home games! Such memories are unforgettable for a football player. OH Leuven gave me everything I needed to excel and I’m proud that we achieved all our goals with our team the two years I was with the club.”
It hasn’t been a good season for OHL whose three-year stay in the top flight ended with relegation to the Belgacom League. Although they survived Play Off 3 against Mons, the Play Offs against number two, three and four from the second division was too much for the club. OH Leuven had won promotion after winning the EXQI League (former name of Belgium’s second division) in 2010-2011.
“Honestly, I felt so bad when I heard the shocking news,” Chuka told BeNeFoot. “With all the love and passion the fans in Leuven have shown, I think they deserve better. Unfortunately these things happens in football. At this stage we can only support them to come back stronger, and I’m positive OHL will make a quick return to the Jupiler Pro League”
Derick Ogbu left OH Leuven in 2013 for CFR Cluj. Mircea Rednic was appointed as Cluj’s new coach and he took Chuka with him to Romania. The striker was happy to make the step to a club who played for the title. The fact that the former Standard coach believed in his potential made him choose CFR Cluj.
“My first season with CFR Cluj hasn’t gone the way I expected. Mainly due to the circumstances at the club. It’s astonishing that we haven’t been paid salary for five months now. Even when the players want to give everything for the club, it’s still difficult. I’m a striker who works hard for the team and also loves to score as much goals as possible. We all feel very sad about the situation and that isn’t helping the players to perform. I haven’t scored many goals this season but I’m still the top goal scorer of the team. Scoring goals is not the most important thing for me. The most important thing is that the team benefits of my hard work.”
CFR Cluj are currently experiencing some financial difficulties. The club won their last title in 2011-2012. Lasts season they ended ninth and this season fifth. The club urgently need a financial boost without which some of their players could be forced to leave the club soon. Derick Ogbu also thinks about moving, maybe even back to Belgium.
“At the moment I’m on holiday and I’m trying to relax. I want to clear my mind and stay positive despite all the difficulties. Honestly, I’m open to a move, I have always said if the situation does not change I will leave the club. I’ll meet my agent in the next few days to see what’s the best option for me. The question is not if there are offers, my biggest concern is which club is the best option for me. I’ve heard there are Belgium clubs interested in my and also else where. We will carefully evaluate the situation and see what’s best for me.”
Ogbu is 24 years old and he should have his best years ahead of him. Chuka told us that he dreams to play in the Premier League once. “I have always had my eyes on the Premier League in England, like most ambitious footballers. But I would also be happy to make an eminent return to Belgium to play for one of the top clubs in the Jupiler Pro League.”
The Nigerian striker also dreams of playing for his nation. So far he hasn’t been called up yet for his country, who will take their place in this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. He wants to play in a financial stable club again so he can focus again on his game without being concerned about financial matters.
“Playing for Nigeria has always been my dream. That’s also why I gave up all the money and citizenship proposal in Qatar. I wanted to play in Europe so I could one day play for the national team of Nigeria. I’m very optimistic that one day I will play for Nigeria.”
When he was in Belgium, Chuka had some contact with Imoh Ezekiel who is also from Nigerian origin. Since he left Belgium the two players haven’t contacted each other anymore. Derick Ogbu already know he wants to play for Nigeria. Imoh Ezekiel can still play for both Belgium and Nigeria.
I asked Chuka one final question: Who do you think will win the World Cup in Brazil? “It’s going to be an interesting World Cup. I was planning to go to Brazil to watch some games but unfortunately I can’t make it. I’m picking Brazil to win it.”
So maybe there’s a chance that we’ll see Derick Ogbu back in Belgium. I’m sure that a lot of clubs in the Jupiler Pro league could use a player like Chuka. We wish him all the luck in his career!