Monday, October 1, 2007

Getafe's Uche Ikechuwku Wants Hardware

This story combines my love for Spain's La Liga with my interest in African football. Can't beat that, can we? The football double ...

Today's BBC profiles 23-year-old Nigerian striker Uche Ikechuwku, who has played for the past four seasons in Spain.

He's currently in his first season at Getafe after spending the past four seasons at Recreativo de Huelva. He told the BBC he's looking forward to the challenge of helping Getafe become a major force in Spain's top division.

"It's always difficult to adapt when you change clubs but I'm very happy with the move I made," Uche said.

"Everyone at the club is doing everything to make things easy for me and I'm glad I joined Getafe."

Uche scored 21 goals in the 2005/06 season to help Recreativo regain promotion to the top division.

The Nigerian missed the start of last season because of injury but managed to score eight goals in 30 appearances for Recreativo, which is the oldest club in Spanish football.

He's now aiming to win one of the most coveted prizes in Spanish football - the Pichichi trophy - awarded to the top goal scorer in La Liga.

"It's one of my dreams in football to win the Pichichi but I know it's not easy.

"It takes a lot of hard work and the most important thing is for me to be lucky and not get injured."

When asked for his opinion about the racist abuse directed towards black players in Spain in recent months, Uche said it was difficult to change people's perceptions.

"Racism affects your confidence as a player because nobody likes being insulted.

"At the beginning it used to affect me a lot but now I understand that there is not a lot I can do as an individual to stop it.

"There are other people whose duty it is to stop the racism but this is all about educating people to accept each other.

"Spain is generally a very good country to live in because not everyone is racist, and those who insult Africans do so just to distract us.

"As foreigners, we have to accept that not everybody is going to like us instead of getting distracted."

He sounds like a good lad with his head on straight. Good luck, Uche on your stay in Spain and your drive towards the coveted Pichichi trophy!