If there was an award for the Sunshine Stars players for their impact in the just ended 2020/2021 NPFL season, it may go to Ejike Uzoechi, a Central defender who shone like a million stars.
Uzoeshi joined the struggling Sunshine Stars during the midseason transfers window on a short loan spell from Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Nnewi United FC of Nnewi.
Sunshine Stars Coach, Deji Ayeni saw him play first hand when as then Ekiti United Coach his side faced Nnewi United in their NNL clash at the Ekiti Stadium and Uzoechi was superb.
The moment Ayeni got appointed Coach of the relegation haunted ‘Owena Waves’ to replace Gbenga Ogunbote his first midseason signing was Ejike ‘the incredible’ Uzoechi and the young man did not disappoint.
He sllotted into Sunshine’s team with ease.
Sunshine Stars and the City of Akure were without any shine and had almost forgotten how to celebrate victory with an NPFL record Eighteen (18) consecutive winless games, Uzoechi was immense in his debut driving his team as he scored on his debut to end what was becoming a jinx.
The Enugu born defender had carefully directed his header into the net for a 1-0 victory over visiting Dakkada FC of Uyo for their first win in five Months.
“I could not believe it but it was a great feeling for me, even though the fans were not there in their numbers but the joy i saw on the faces of all present gave me unquantifiable happinness.” Uzoechi said.
After that performance the 6’2 tall defender became a favourite amongst Sunshine Stars fans.
Uzoechi practically carried Sunshine Stars on his back to swim out of the murky waters of relegation and bring the shine back in the Sun at the Akure Township Stadium.
He played Eleven key league matches and four Aiteo Cup games.
He scored three match winning goals against Dakkada 1-0, Plateau Utd 3-2, Rivers Utd 1-0 and scored a vital one point grabbing goal for their 1-1 draw against Enyimba in Aba.
It was a Man of the match performance on the final day of the season as he proved very decisive scoring the only goal of the game in the 5th minute to disunite Rivers Utd to send the Akure fans into wild jubilation as the goal and win helped the Akure Gunners escape the drop on the last match day of the season.
While two of his four goals were headed in, the other two were scored with his stronger right foot to show that he is an all action centre back with incredible aerial ability and penchant for goals.
“I can’t wait for the new season as i want to really show the stuff i am made of, what you all saw last season, there are much more where that came from and i cant wait to showcase them”
If you are searching for one of the most consistent and modern centre backs in the Nigeria Professional football league, look towards the big, strong, reliable and formidable Ejike Uzoeshi who is humgry for more.
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