Winger Chiedozie Ogbene said it was a ‘good moment’ as he made his home debut against Hull City earlier this month. The 21-year-old came on as a second-half substitute as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park on the final day of the season; Sergi Canos’ early goal being cancelled out by Jarrod Bowen on the stroke of half-time. Having made his Sky Bet Championship bow at The City Ground against Nottingham Forest in April, Chiedozie was really pleased to get off the mark on home soil before the season came to a close.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford after the game against The Tigers, Chiedozie said: “It was a good moment for me. Coming here and getting games was tough but to make my debut in front of these fans today was good. It is never easy coming from a different league but the players encouraged me. This league is much quicker and you get less time on the ball but the boys eased me into it and made it much easier for me to enjoy. Everyone was happy with me going on the run; I was confident in my ability and I wanted to show people what I can do on the pitch. I feel like my confidence will come over time and I will be dangerous.”
Chiedozie joined from League Of Ireland side Limerick in January following a successful trial period at Jersey Road. The path across the Irish Sea to the Championship has been a well-trodden, if not always successful one, for players in recent years. The Nigerian-born winger admitted the Championship was a bit of a culture shock at first but feels his appearances at the back end of the campaign have given him a real confidence boost heading into the summer.
“Coming from the League Of Ireland it is not easy to get game-time,” admitted Chiedozie. “I have seen players come across and not play for years. I was happy to get two games under my belt before the season finished. I am grateful for the opportunity but I feel that I have a lot to learn and I will continue to learn. If I get that information from people around me then I feel I will improve massively. I wanted to give the crowd, especially at home, a taste of what I can do. That will make them believe more in me and get my confidence up. If I hadn’t showed them then I would still doubt myself. It will give me confidence coming back into pre-season knowing that people want me to come on. It will drive me to train harder and become a better player.”
Chiedozie hasn’t been afraid to put in the hard work since joining, spending hours on the training pitches with Individual Development Coach, Lars Friis. The former Cork City man admitted that he had a lot of catching up to do when he joined but said the progress he has made so far gives him real optimism for next season.
“Last year, if you’d told me I would be here I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Chiedozie. “It was tough to get games in Ireland last season. Not many players come from the League Of Ireland straight to the Championship. I do a lot of individual work with Lars Friis trying to get me up to standard. When I joined I was behind the guys and I felt it but now my strength and fitness have gone up and they have converted me into a different player. I feel that they will continue to help me to improve. I think I will be a player to look out for next season. When you get a taste of football, you want to continue. That is what I want to do. I want to keep playing and keep improving. I am eager to play. I feel that I am going to learn a lot and when I do, I am going to enjoy my football.”