Three-time VAT Wonder Goal Award winner, Emeka Ogbugh has revealed that supporting charity work is a motivation that spurs him to put in the extra work that has seen him win the award in three consecutive seasons of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Ogbugh won the award in the 2015/16 NPFL season with Heartland FC of Owerri and in 2016/17 with his current club, Rivers United. Last Sunday, he was presented the ceremonial cheque for winning the award for Match-day 15 after securing over 51 percent of the votes in a poll that fielded four other players.
Speaking to sportandstudy.org on the award that was presented by Rivers State Coordinator of Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Mr. Joel Nwakpo, Ogbugh was of the opinion that the innovative award is one every player in the league would love to win.
In his words, “Basically, every Nigerian league player wants to score spectacular goals and if you’re trying to score such goals, you have to try to score on a weekly basis. So I think that innovation is very good and coupled with the fact that you’re going to give some of the money to charity, it makes you to work very hard so you can give back to the society too”.
Ogbugh’s goal for Rivers United was a hit from outside the 18 yard box and he gave an insight into how he developed the hard hitting goal scoring skills, tracing it to his years at a football academy in Owerri where the coach made him practice hitting set pieces.
“Yeah, in my academy back in those days, my coach will normally, before every training session set balls for me to be striking them to goal, so that’s how I inculcated that habit of scoring free kicks and hitting shots from outside the 18-yard box.
On his reaction to receiving the news of his emerging the winner, the Imo State University graduate said it brought some excitement to him. He praised other nominees and described their goals as equally good.
“I am very excited. I feel honoured to have won the award in three consecutive seasons. I think it shows that hard work actually pays. All the goals were good so to be singled out, you have to feel honoured”, remarked Ogbugh who was part of the Nigerian squad that won silver at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco earlier in the year.
On the impact of the national team outing, Ogbugh said it has helped him in confidence building and gave the credit to Coach Salisu Yusuf.
“Actually, playing for the national team has helped me, especially, playing under Coach Salisu Yusuf at CHAN. He helped build my confidence more and also advised me on the skills and techniques to use on the pitch. I think all that has helped me more coming back to the league”, concluded Ogbugh who nominated Compassion Centre in Port Harcourt as the charity organisation to benefit from his N150,000 prize money