Ogbeche not after Corominas’ record, focus instead on making history with Hyderabad FC

Image credit: ogbechebartholomew@Instagram

Hyderabad FC’s new signing Bartholomew Ogbeche has made it clear that chasing Ferran Corominas’ record for most Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) goals (48) is the last thing on his mind heading into the next season of India’s premier football league. Instead, the priority will be to make history with the Telangana-based team that is yet to finish in the top-4 having finished fifth in 2020-21 and tenth in 2019-20.

The Nigerian forward, who joined Manuel Marquez’s team from reigning champions Mumbai City FC earlier this month, is third on the list of topscorers in the Hero ISL with 35 goals, behind Corominas, currently with Atletico Baleares, and Bengaluru FC’s Sunil Chhetri (47).

“I don’t go chasing records, to be honest. What is on my mind first and foremost is the team’s success. In this case, HFC have never made it to the semis. This time the target is to make the semis, one step at a time. I have no doubt that I will score goals. I just hope that I score many goals, many more than I have scored before in the Hero ISL. And if I happen to match or beat his record, that will be awesome. But chasing records is never on my mind. What on my mind is chasing records with my team; making history with my team,” Ogbeche said on the latest episode of Football United. 

Ogbeche also admitted that there would be pressure on him playing in Hyderabad FC colours before adding that it can work wonders if it is channelised the right way. “I would be lying if I say there is no pressure. Of course, there is pressure. It has to be channelled the right way. It has to add to your motivation, it has to add to your drive of wanting to be successful, the will to win,” he said. 

Last year Hyderabad FC attracted a lot of attention for showing faith and bringing out the best, particularly in domestic talents. The 36-year-old believes the team has a balanced squad having recently signed Edu Garcia from ATK Mohun Bagan and extended Joao Victor’s contract. “I love playing with the youngsters. I love the youngsters and also guiding them. It’s true that Mumbai City FC had a relatively more experienced squad than that of Hyderabad FC. Last season would have done Hyderabad FC a lot of good. A lot of youngsters [came through] …The thing is having the right balance between the experienced players and the youngsters,” he said. 

Ogbeche made his Hero ISL bow with NorthEast United FC in 2018-19. He scored 12 goals and helped the Highlanders to their first appearance in the semifinals; the next season he moved to Kerala Blasters FC and scored 15 goals. In 2020-21, he scored eight goals in Mumbai City FC’s league shield as well as trophy win. He revealed what made him join the Marquez camp. “A lot of things, I’m excited to be part of the HFC family. A lot of things, what we saw last season, their style of play was really, really attractive. We all fell in love with the way Hyderabad FC surprised everyone,” he said. 

When asked how difficult it is for a player to adapt to a team’s style of play, he said: “It depends on the kind of player you are. Their playing style wasn’t very different from ours last season when I was at Mumbai City FC. Not much different to what I experienced in Europe. It makes a little bit easier for me to adapt to their playing style.”

Finally, Ogbeche appealed to the Hyderabad FC faithful in an impassioned way, stressing how their support is crucial to the team’s chances next season. “A huge challenge lies ahead all of us. Making it to the top won’t be possible without you guys. So, we would be needing your support in every way possible,” he concluded.

 

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