While his passion for football decided that James Ogenetega would represent Rockford College Ikorodu, fate resolved that he would switch from being a midfielder to a goalkeeper. The result of change ended as a fascinating effort that won him the Golden Glove award at the 2016 COPA Coca-Cola U-15 football tournament.
Ogenetega’s switch from a midfielder to a goalkeeper turned into the story of a player’s rise, into an outstanding football performance, at the recently concluded COPA Coca-Cola Football Tournament. An emotional Ogenetega when asked how he felt about the award revealed, “I am surprised, I didn’t even believe I could win this award. I believe God wants to do something great in my life through this.”
Just before their first match at the grassroots stage of the 2016 COPA Coca-Cola tournament, the team’s goalkeeper was screened out as an overaged player, which left them with no goal keeper. With the need for someone to take up this position which no one was ready to take, James sacrificed himself, hoping it would be for just one match but after a sublime display in goal, his coach insisted that he stayed.
James would go on to win the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper of the tournament after making crucial saves to see his team, which also made it to the third place where they lost in a 6-5 penalty shoot-out, where James saved two penalties.
Explaining how much the award means to him, he said, “this will change my life as a young footballer because this has helped me define that I will stay in goal and be a great goalkeeper like Manuel Neuer”.
Expressing his gratitude to Coca-Cola for helping him and other teens discover his talent, “I want to thank Coca-Cola for bringing this edition of COPA Coca-Cola to us and I hope they do more editions because I believe my team will win the next one”.
If there is one thing his teammates and other teens will learn from COPA Coca-Cola and James Ogenetega, it will be that ‘Whatever you are, be a good one’.
And give everything for football!