Odafe comes to Bagan with hope and promise - Will be happy to play with Barreto, says the nigerian

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 2.06.11
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Okolie Odafe during a media conference at the Mohun Bagan tent, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Okolie Odafe promised bagful of trophies for Mohun Bagan amid deafening cheers, here on Wednesday. The prolific Nigerian striker, who has signed a one-year deal with the success-starved club, was unveiled at green and maroon tent.

“I promise a lot of trophies for the supporters… God has been kind to me during my stay with Churchill Brothers and I am sure the Almighty will bless me here, too. I am confident that all supporters here will love me because I will make them happy,” Odafe said.

The Nigerian’s deal is the highest in the history of Indian football. Even though the club officials remained mum on the exact amount, sources said that the deal is close to Rs 1.6 crore in salary and Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 in perks, which includes an expensive car.

Interestingly, Odafe started his career in Calcutta, playing for Mohammedan Sporting seven seasons back and was dumped by the club without giving him a second chance. He joined the Peerless Sports Club and played the Calcutta Football League in 2004 before leaving for Bangladesh.

However, an enterprising Churchill Alemao kept a tab on the striker and swooped on him in 2006. Since then, there was no looking back for the Nigerian and the Goan club.

He played a stellar role as the Churchill Brothers won the Durand Cup, the I-League (2008-09) and the IFA Shield (2009). He was the highest scorer in the National League four times on the trot. This time too Odafe was well on course, till Ranty Martins scored seven goals in a match to run away with the award.

“Churchill took good care of me… I never had a problem there. But in life, you like challenges. So here I am, in Bagan, to take up the challenge.” In life, money is not everything, said the man, who came to India since someone back in Nigeria had told him that it would give him a chance to play in English Premier League!

Talking about the Bagan’s team composition, Odafe said: “I am sure we will have a good team. I need support. One footballer can’t get you success, football is a team game,”

Odafe said he would like to play alongside Jose Ramirez Barreto. “He is great player. I’ll be really happy to play with him.” And then in jest he added; “ He wears No. 10 and I will wear No. 101.”

Mohun Bagan, incidentally, were wooing Odafe for the last five years and surely the Nigerian is the biggest catch for the club this season.

“A great day in the club’s history... We were after him for the last five years but this time we finally succeeded. Chima Okerie also helped us a lot in this,” said club secretary Anjan Mirta.

Despite hitting the headlines whenever he plays, Odafe is also known for his mood swings. While playing for Churchill, a host of coaches got the boot because they failed to gel well with the 29-year-old Nigerian.

Bagan, however, assured that they won’t have any problem. “Mohun Bagan is an institution… He will not have any problem with us,” an official said.