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‘Truly a blessing’ – Chiedozie Ogbene on becoming first African-born footballer to play for Ireland

Chiedozie Ogbene

His name will now be in the history books forevermore.

Chiedozie Ogbene became the first ever African-born footballer to play for Ireland when he came on against Hungary on Tuesday evening.

Ogbene almost ended up winning the game for Ireland too, going close from a tight angle just seconds after he came on to the pitch.

Chiedozie Ogbene on making his debut for the Republic of Ireland.

Speaking about the actual impact he had on the game itself, Ogbene said: “There were a few minutes left in the game, so I came on with one goal, one aim, to cause havoc and get at defenders.

“My teammates made it easier for me, because they were giving me some nice balls in behind. So I really enjoyed myself. It was a good night to come on.”

And while Ogbene (24) impressed with the ball at his feet when he came on, he ensured his name would be written in the history books forever just by simply coming on to the pitch, as he became Ireland’s first ever African-born footballer.

Chiedozie Ogbene

Chiedozie Ogbene makes history.

Speaking about this, the young Corkman said: “It’s truly a blessing. It’s a big moment for myself and my family.

“I want to inspire any young player. Most importantly, being from the League of Ireland, coming from that tough structure of football… To showcase if you believe and never give up, what can happen.

“I want to inspire everyone else to follow their dreams.”

He made this historic appearance on what was quite a fitting night for it, as Hungary’s fans booed the Irish team as they took the knee to protest against racism in the game.

Ogbene was born in Nigeria but moved to Cork in 2005, where he played soccer at a high level, and Gaelic football for Nemo Rangers.

Here are our player ratings from the 0-0 draw against Hungary.

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