Ogbeche 'humbled' after taking over Kerala's captaincy from Jhingan
Kerala Blasters FC head coach Eelco Schattorie has named Bartholomew Ogbeche as the new club captain for the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season. Ogbeche will be taking over the responsibility from teammate Sandesh Jhingan, who donned the captain’s arm-band for the side in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
In a recent media interaction, Schattorie cited seniority and his familiarity with working with Ogbeche as a skipper from last season at NorthEast United FC as his primary reasonings behind the change of guard. "Bart (Bartholomew Ogbeche) will be Kerala Blasters' captain for the season. Last couple of seasons, Sandesh Jhingan was the captain of the team. As in India its tradition that the eldest normally takes the steering wheel - the one with the most knowledge," he announced.
"Luckily Bart is like a grandfather in that respect," he quipped and then added, "He can back it up with a lot of experience and knowledge. Also, I worked with Bart last season and we have a good relationship. In a team, it’s very important that you have relationships with the players. I know Bart has good leadership qualities. Sandesh is a top leader too but as I said, based on experience and considering the pre-existing relationship, we came to the conclusion that its best for the team, in my opinion, that Bart be the captain. We are really looking forward to it."
Schattorie, however, reiterated the importance of Sandesh's role in the team and tipped him to be Ogbeche's deputy as far as captaincy was concerned. "Sandesh is a great captain and has been with the club for a while now. If Bart is out, he will be my second captain," the Dutchman informed.
A massive honour and privilege: Ogbeche
Ogbeche, too, shared his thoughts on being handed the massive responsibility and said, "For me, leading Kerala Blasters is a massive honour and privilege. I am humbled. Like we all know, it’s never about just the one player or the captain. We have different captains in the team. We have experienced players like Sandesh, Sergio Cidoncha and Jairo (Rodriguez) in the team. I am confident that, together, we will work like a close-knit family because that will define our season."
The combination of Schattorie as head coach and Ogbeche as the captain worked well for the Highlanders in Hero ISL 2018-19 as the duo played a pivotal role in helping NorthEast reach their first semi-final in five seasons. Much like Jhingan, Ogbeche leads the team by example and his 12 goals for NorthEast last term testifies to the fact.
Will the Schattorie-Ogbeche combination bear fruit again and help Kerala to the title? Leave your predictions in the comments below: