NorthEast and Bartholomew Ogbeche part ways
NorthEast United FC have parted ways with star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, the club announced on Thursday night. The 34-year-old spent one year at the club and was a crucial player in the Highlanders' run to the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 semi-finals.
To recall, Ogbeche joined NorthEast ahead of the 2018-19 season and ended the campaign as the team's highest scorer with 12 goals. He was also the second top scorer in the league alongside Mumbai City FC's Modou Sougou. Only FC Goa talisman Ferran Corominas had more goals to his name.
The former Paris Saint-Germain player endeared himself to the NorthEast faithful from Day 1 and scored in his club debut against FC Goa. He soon followed it up with a host of brilliant performances and goals, including a hat-trick, the first one of the season, in a come from behind victory against Chennaiyin FC.
With Ogbeche leading the line, NorthEast ended the league phase at the fourth position of the table and qualified for the semis for the first time in history. The ace striker's season, however, ended on a tragic note as a hamstring injury forced him off after the first half of NorthEast's semi-final first leg tie against Bengaluru FC. Ogbeche's injury would eventually turn out to be detrimental for the Highlanders as his absence severely handicapped the side in the second leg and eventually led to their exit from the tournament.
Despite spending just a single season with NorthEast, it was enough for Ogbeche to establish himself as the club's all-time top goal scorer, overtaking Nico Velez, who had 8 goals from 25 matches.
Ogbeche's departure will certainly leave a big void in NorthEast's forward line - one which the club will need to address before the next season gets underway.