Ogbene 'blessed' to be first A...

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Ogbene 'blessed' to be first African born Republic of Ireland player


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Chiedozie Ogbene has spoken of his pride in becoming the first African-born player to represent the Republic of Ireland at senior level. 

Ogbene was born in Lagos in Nigeria but moved with his family to Cork at a young age. He played for Cork City and Limerick in the League of Ireland and now plays for Rotherham United in England.

Ogbene hopes his achievement can inspire other young footballers.

"It's truly a blessing. It's a big moment for myself and my family. As I said, I want to inspire any young player, most importantly being from the League of Ireland and coming from that tough structure of football. Just to showcase if you believe and never give up, what can happen. To be obviously titled 'the first African born', I am really blessed. It's a huge honour and I want to inspire everyone else to follow their dreams.

Manager Stephen Kenny condemned the Hungarian supporters who booed the taking of the knee by Irish players prior to kick-off, and Obgene lent his voice to the complaints.

"Obviously disappointed, because we all go through different stories and different histories in our lives. This is something that obviously black people have been fighting for many years. Discrimination and racism - there's no place for it in any sport in any place. So I was quite disappointed, but it is what it is. We stood strong and I'm so happy that we as a team took the knee to show solidarity between us all."

The winger is calling on European football's governing body to intervene.

"I feel like the group we have - very diverse and everyone's together. We hope that UEFA will take stricter actions and find a solution. It is a difficult task because this has been going on for many years. We won't find a result or a solution overnight. It will take time to get a result. I am so happy that we continue to show how important is it to accept everybody for who they are and just educate people. I'm so proud of the team and how we stood strong together to take a knee."


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