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Uchechukwu 'Uche' Alozie Okechukwu (born 27 September 1967) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a central defender.

Uche Okechukwu
Personal information
Full name Uchechukwu Alozie Okechukwu
Date of birth (1967-09-27) 27 September 1967 (age 51)
Place of birth Lagos, Nigeria
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Playing position Centre back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987 Flash Flamingoes
1988–1990 Iwuanyanwu Nationale
1990–1993 Brøndby 61 (10)
1993–2002 Fenerbahçe 191 (19)
2002–2006 İstanbulspor 75 (8)
2007–2008 Ocean Boys
2008–2009 Bayelsa United
National team
1990–1998 Nigeria 47 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

"Uche" was a short form of the Igbo name "Uchechukwu" (meaning "God´s will").[1] He was also honoured as the foreign player who played in Turkey for the longest period of time (13 years), going on to obtain Turkish citizenship under the name Deniz Uygar.[2][3]

The recipient of nearly 50 caps for Nigeria, Okechukwu represented the nation in two World Cups and as many Africa Cup of Nations, winning the latter tournament once.

Contents

Club careerEdit

Early years / DenmarkEdit

Born in Lagos, Okechukwu started his career playing for Flash Flamingoes and Iwuanyanwu Nationale, winning the 1988 and 1989 Nigeria Premier League with the latter.

In July 1990 he moved abroad to join Danish club Brøndby IF, being signed by newly appointed coach Morten Olsen alongside teammate Friday Elahor. Soon a part of the starting XI, Okechukwu helped the team win the 1990 and 1991 Danish championship, and was one of the mainstays of the squad that reached the semifinals of the 1990–91 UEFA Cup; while Elahor was touted by some as the next Brian Laudrup, he would soon leave for Africa Sports, while Okechukwu would be named the 1992's Brøndby IF Player of the Year.

Turkey / RetirementEdit

After appearing in the 1992 African Cup of Nations, where Nigeria reached the semi-finals, Okechukwu was linked to Turkish side Fenerbahçe SK for half a year, until he was bought in a DKK8 million transfer deal in November 1993. At Istanbul, he formed a defensive duo with former Brøndby teammate Jes Høgh, helping the club to its first Süper Lig championship in seven years in 1996.

Okechukwu played a further four seasons with Fenerbahçe, repeating league accolades in 2000–01. After nearly 250 official games he moved to fellow league team İstanbulspor AS, returning in 2007 to Nigeria first with Ocean Boys F.C. then with Bayelsa United FC (joining the latter in July 2008, and retiring shortly after, aged 41).

International careerEdit

Okechukwu made his debut for the Nigeria national team at the 1990 African Cup of Nations tournament, in a 1–5 loss against Algeria in their opening game. For the remainder of the competition the Super Eagles' defense did not concede another goal, until they were beaten 0–1 by the same opponent in the final.

Altogether, Okechukwu played 47 internationals,[4] winning the CAN in 1994 (2–1 against Zambia) and the 1996 Summer Olympics. He also represented the nation in two FIFA World Cups, helping it progress to two consecutive round-of- 16 contests as he appeared in seven complete matches combined, only missing out in the group stage 1–3 loss to Paraguay due to having collected two yellow cards.

Okechukwu retired after the 1998 edition's 1–4 loss to Denmark, having captained the squad on several occasions from 1996 onwards.

HonoursEdit

ClubEdit

Iwuanyanwu Nationale

Brøndby

Fenerbahçe

InternationalEdit

Nigeria

IndividualEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Name meaning at Nigerian.name
  2. ^ Uche Okechukwu (Deniz Uygar) ve jübilesi (Uche Okechukwu (Deniz Uygar) retires); Unifeb Forums (in Turkish)
  3. ^ Uche Okechukwu (Deniz Uygur); Fenerbahçe Gazetesi, 8 January 2011 (in Turkish)
  4. ^ "Uche Alozie Okechukwu – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 August 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Peter Rufai
Nigeria Captain
1994–1998
Succeeded by
Sunday Oliseh