Uche Okechukwu

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Uche Okechukwu
Personal information
Full name Uche Alozie Okechukwu
Date of birth (1967-09-27) 27 September 1967 (age 46)
Place of birth Lagos, Nigeria
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Playing position Centre back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987 Flash Flamingoes
1988–1990 Iwuanyanwu Nationale
1990–1993 Brøndby 61 (10)
1993–2002 Fenerbahçe 191 (19)
2002–2006 İstanbulspor 75 (8)
2007–2008 Ocean Boys
2008–2009 Bayelsa United
National team
1990–2002 Nigeria 46 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Nigeria
Men's Football
Gold 1996 Atlanta Team Competition

Uche Alozie Okechukwu (born 27 September 1967), known as Uche for short, is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a central defender.

"Uche" is a nickname for the Igbo name "Uchechukwu" (meaning "God´s will").[1] He was also honored as the foreign player who played in Turkey for the longest period of time (13 years), going on to obtain Turkish citizenship under the name Deniz Uygar.[2][3]

The recipient of nearly 50 caps for Nigeria, Uche represented the nation in two World Cups and as many Africa Cup of Nations, winning the latter tournament once.

Club career[edit]

Early years / Denmark[edit]

Born in Lagos, Uche started his career playing for Flash Flamingoes and Iwuanyanwu Nationale, winning the 1988 and 1989 Nigerian Premier League with the latter.

In July 1990 he moved abroad to join Danish club Brøndby IF, being signed by newly appointed club coach Morten Olsen alongside teammate Friday Elahor. Soon a part of the first team setup, Uche helped the club win the 1990 and 1991 Danish championship, and was one of the mainstays of the team that reached the semifinals of the 1990–91 UEFA Cup; while Elahor was touted by some as the next Brian Laudrup, he would soon leave the club for Africa Sports, while Uche would be named the 1992's Brøndby IF Player of the Year.

Turkey / Retirement[edit]

After appearing in the 1992 African Cup of Nations, where Nigeria reached the semi-finals, Uche was chased by Turkish side Fenerbahçe for half a year, until he was bought in a DKK8 million transfer deal in November 1993. At Istanbul he formed a defensive duo with former Brøndby teammate Jes Høgh, helping the club to its first national championship in seven years in 1996.

Uche played a further four seasons with Fenerbahçe, repeating league accolades in 2000–01. After nearly 250 official games he moved to fellow top-divisioner İstanbulspor AS, returning in 2007 to Nigeria first with Ocean Boys F.C. then with Bayelsa United FC (joining the latter in July 2008, and retiring shortly after, aged 41).

International career[edit]

Uche made his debut for the Nigerian national team at the 1990 African Cup of Nations tournament, when Nigeria lost 1–5 to Algeria in their opening game. For the remainder of the competition the Super Eagles' defense did not concede another goal, until they were beaten 0–1 by Algeria in the final.

Altogether Uche played 46 international matches, winning the CAN in 1994 (2–1 against Zambia) and the 1996 Summer Olympics. He also represented the nation in two FIFA World Cups, helping it progress to two consecutive round-of- 16 contests as he appeared in seven full matches combined, only missing out in the group stage 1–3 loss to Paraguay due to having collected two yellow cards.

Uche retired after the 1998 edition's 1–4 loss to Denmark, having captained the squad on several occasions from 1996 onwards.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Country[edit]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Peter Rufai
Nigeria Captain
1994–1998
Succeeded by
Sunday Oliseh