John Ogu: Nigeria midfielder eager to make up for lost time

Nigeria's John Ogu
Nigeria's John Ogu is keen to help his new Saudi club Al-Adalah FC stay in the league next season.

Nigeria midfielder John Ogu is desperate to make up for lost time at Saudi Arabian club Al-Adalah FC following an inactive six months.

The 31-year-old had been a free agent since leaving Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Ogu hopes he can establish himself in the Saudi top tier after signing for an initial six months with the option to extend.

"It's been a long, tough and crazy six months, but I want to quickly put it all behind me by getting involved with Al-Adalah immediately," he told BBC Sport.

"To watch others actively playing on television at the start of the season was tough and now I have a lot of catching up to do personally on the football pitch.

"But I'm confident in my ability and confident that my body is ready for the battles and vigorous games to come."

After stints in Slovenia, Spain and Portugal, Ogu moved to Hapoel Beer Sheva in September 2014 after his contract with Academica de Coimbra was ended by mutual consent.

He had a successful time at the club, winning three successive league titles, the 2017 Israeli Cup as well as lifting the Israeli Super Cup twice.

Ogu made 190 Hapoel appearances, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists.

His time in Israel also saw him recalled to the national team and he was part of the Super Eagles squad at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He played the last group game as Nigeria suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Madagascar at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, a match which turned out to be his last competitive outing.

Al-Adalah currently lie in 15th place in the 16-team league, but Ogu is determined to help them stay in the the Saudi Professional League.

"I promise to give my all and push through to help the club remain in the league next season," he added.

"I've been here for a few days and I can see that the club has everything to compete against the best in Saudi."

At international level, Ogu has two goals in 24 appearances for three-time African champions Nigeria.

He played in all three of their group matches at the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup and in three 2014 World Cup qualifiers, but was omitted from the squad for the finals in Brazil by coach Stephen Keshi.

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