Enyimba FC young left back Ikouwem Udoh is delighted with the progress he has made since he was promoted to the first team of the 2015 Nigeria Professional Football League champions.
Udoh, 18, grew through the ranks at the Aba-based club and was promoted to the first team at the start of last football season by former Enyimba coach Gbenga Ogunbote.
The Akwa-Ibom born player went on to make sixteen league appearances for the People’s Elephant in his debut season as a professional as Enyimba finished third in the league, earning for themselves, a CAF Confederation Cup slot.
“I thank God for everything. When I was promoted to the first team last season, God gave me the experience to cope among the big boys and we were able to achieve our aim at the end of the season,” Udoh told www.aclsports.com
Udoh was snapped up by Enyimba from Alaska Football Academy, Ikot-Ekpene when he was 16 and he has been at the Enyimba Feeders team since then.
With Enyimba perennially boasting of the best legs in the top division, it is always going to be difficult for youngsters to come through the ranks. In fact, it rarely happens. Udoh however made a head way.
“It was not easy to break into Enyimba team. But our people always say that when preparation meets opportunity, success always come,” a philosophical Ikouwem added.
“When I was in the Feeders team, I always pray to God that any day I have that opportunity to play in the senior team, I will try my best so that I will enter the team and represent the state.”
His wish came to pass and with the new season just a month away, Ikouwem has pushed himself into pole position to becoming the team’s first choice left back with some stellar displays in pre-season.
Although the club has brought in Nasiru Sani from Katsina United, he is hoping his experience last season with having to contend with Chima Akas (who has now left Enyimba) for the same position will help him.
“Chima was very nice and I learnt a lot from him because he is more experienced than I so I learnt more from that both at the national team and how he played,” he spoke about the former Shooting Stars defender.
“I am not afraid of the competition this coming season. I believe if I can play as much as I did last season, I can do better the coming season.”
Udoh has another chance to audition properly for the new Enyimba technical crew led by Paul Aigbogun when the NPFL Pre-Season Invitational Tournament gets underway in Kano on Monday.