Odafe scores 6 in Churchill's nine

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 21.02.09
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Calcutta/ Margao: Odafe Okolie’s hunger for goals seems insatiable. On Friday in Margao, the Churchill Brother striker netted a double hattrick as the I-League title-chasers romped past a hapless Vasco Sports Club 9-1.

Felix Chimaokwu scored a brace while Reisangmi Vashum netted the other one for India’s only ‘family’ team. Vasco’s Leister Fernandes produced the consolation goal for his side in 67th minute.

Churchill, whose title hopes suffered a jolt after losing to Sporting Clube de Goa last week, remain in the hunt with 30 points from 16 matches. If Sporting Clube and Mohun Bagan stumble in their respective 16th round matches, Churchill will be back in the frame once again.

It was the first double hattrick in the national football league and the man of the moment promised to get a few more.

“A great feeling to score six goals in one match. The entire team played well and I hope we will continue winning like this,” Odafe told The Telegraph from Margao.

At half-time, Churchill were leading 2-0 with Odafe and Felix netting one each. But after the change of ends, Churchill came all guns blazing and Vasco had no answer against the onslaught.

In the second half, Odafe scored five (49th, 55th, 83rd, 89th, 90th), Felix got his second (71st) and Vashum netted one in the 73rd.

“We have to win the title. We can’t finish with the wooden spoon once again,” Odafe said.

Odafe’s arrival in India some six years back was by chance. He came to India thinking that it would be his gateway to England, his dream destination.

Thus the Nigerian landed in Calcutta in 2003 and signed for Peerless Sports Club.

Soon he caught the eye of the Mohammedan Sporting officials but failed to make an impact in the national league for the black and white brigade. “I wasn’t ready then,” the Churchill skipper said.

He left for Bangladesh’s Muktijodha but Churchill kept a track on him. They roped him in 2006-07 and since then there has been no looking back. He has scored 60 goals in 67 matches in the national league, which includes 19 in 14 matches of the ongoing I-League.

“God has been kind to me,” Odafe said.

Well, he hasn’t been kind to his rivals though. Ask Friday’s opponents Vasco — they will vouch for it.

For the record, Mahindra United are the only other team to score nine goals in the national league. In the summer of 2007, the Mumbai outfit defeated Mohammedan Sporting 9-0 at the Cooperage in Mumbai.

MAXIMUM GOALS IN A SINGLE MATCH

  • 6 goals: Odafe Okolie, Churchill Brothers vs Vasco, Feb. 20, 2009
  • 5: Bhaichung Bhutia, JCT vs Mahindra United (MU) Feb. 9, 1997
  • 4: Odafe, Churchill vs Mohammedan Sporting, May 5, 2007;
    Odafe, Churchill vs Salgaocar, Dec. 31, 2007;
    Odafe, Churchill vs MU, Jan. 14, 2008;
    Manjit Singh, MU vs ITI, Feb. 5, 1999;
    Agnelo Gomes, Vasco vs HAL, Margao, April 9, 2003

BIGGEST MARGINS

  • 9-0: Mahindra United vs Md. Sp., May 18, 2007
  • 9-1: Churchill vs Vasco Feb 20, 2009
  • 8-0: Vasco vs HAL, April 9, 2003
  • 7-1: Mahindra vs Dempo, Jan. 2, 2000

Complied by Hari Prasad Chattopadhyay