Viborg FF of Denmark defender Babajide Ogunbiyi

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Viborg's Ogunbiyi aims high

Viborg's Babajide Ogunbiyi aims high

Posted: 3 October 2010 Time: 8:37 pm

Viborg FF of Denmark defender Babajide Ogunbiyi is determined to use his first contact with European football as a learning curve to greater success. 

The 23-year-old born in the USA to Nigerian parent's story is totally different from his more illustrious countrymen on the African continent.

He almost had a promising United States MLS contract, trialled at two English clubs, close to playing at the Olympics for Nigeria but ended up at Danish second division side Viborg FF.

But the almost man in Danish football is not only smart on and off the pitch but earning a spot on the notebook of scouts in Holland, Germany and neighbouring Sweden.

"Ultimately I want to play in the top league someday but I need to earn the right to be there - hopefully I will live that dream sooner rather than later," Ogunbiyi said on a windy Friday in Viborg.

"There's been a lot from collegiate football to my trial time in England and finally here in Denmark but I must confess that European football will direct my career positively."

The right direction is where the man is aiming, standing at a towering 6ft 4 inch tall, Ogunbiyi moved from striker to centerback late in his collegiate career at Santa Clara University.

During his college career he appeared in 77 games scoring 11 goals and recording 8 assists.

As a defender he helped Santa Clara to consecutive West Coast Conference titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

On the later stage of his time as a collegiate player Ogunbiyi however played forward during his college career, recording 6 goals in 2007.

Ogunbiyi was drafted in the second round (18th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by New York Red Bulls and had been offered a contract with Major League soccer side New York Red Bulls but stated he wants to play in Europe.

Then the journey to England where he had trials at Football League One clubs Leeds United and Oldham Athletic ended in a flash.

"Contrary to what was written in some section of the media, it was all about the UK work permit than my talent or performance," he explained.

"I took it all in my stride because I never knew the obstacle [work permit] was there but I have moved on and learning the ropes at Viborg.

At Viborg, a team he joined in March 2010, his performance has been the talk of the division, with commanding presence at the back catching the attention of the big teams in the Sas Ligaen and his attacking foray resulting in two goals in nine appearances.

Five man of the match awards and thrice named in the team of the week in that division, Ogunbiyi is well aware that all these counts for nothing if he takes his feet of the pedal.

"I've been reading about it but it only gives me the impetus to want to do more and be a better player.

"When you get carried away then you lose your focus, it was the same thing they said about me during college days but I am glad I opted strong for academics and a lot happier I have it to guide me along the way.

The tall defender trained with the Nigerian team and was part of their 2008 Olympic team pool before he was left out of the final squad.

But after several disappointments along the way, this seldom defender who can use both feet is banking on his talent to take him where he wants to be.

"Samson Siasia gave me a chance then because he saw something in me and that has been the inspiration to self-belief," he added.

"The aim is to be in any top division next season. Take my game to a greater height and watch God take control from there."

His belief that he might be playing in the top league soon may be considered by some as unrealistic.

But after that entire odyssey seeking football success in addition to his academic one, the next five years could prove to be a fine time in the life of Babajide Ogunbiyi.   

Article by: Colin Udoh

Previous comments on this story...

Anonymous
posted: 09:52 pm
This guy is more than 3 0
Anonymous
posted: 10:37 pm
@ Bomb,
He was born in the US so he can't alter his DOB
IKKALU
posted: 12:14 am
Men this guy get height oooooooh he will be a good replacement for Yobo in future let keep an eye on him before he deceive to play for USA, cause i am sure they will come for him as soon as he is ripe
Anonymous
posted: 12:14 am
my people make una remember say usa hamburger big.
Marvel
posted: 12:15 am
@Bomb, even if he is 50 what has that got to do with you? Civilized people know what is respect and practice it.
aboh18
posted: 01:15 am
Nigeria no mek him escape back to USA soccer oooooooh....help him get ripe and keep him in Nigeria football a beg.
Anonymous
posted: 01:38 am
Huh! This implies that 9ja born players and referees cheat. Remember you cant cheat nature. Kadu!
THUNDER
posted: 02:27 am
knew this tunde is a foolish ghanian. I Pity u cos u ve been exposed,Just sticj 2 ur kick off ghana that is good as dead. Nigeria will qualify 4d nationa cup 2012,not withanding the outcome of d.guinea match.
Anonymous
posted: 10:10 am
Everyone have accepted that he is 23 year old because he was born in the usa, had it been this guy was born in Africa some senseless people will be saying he look 40yrs looking at his face or height!
Anonymous
posted: 11:45 am
BROS....EVERYBODY CANNOT BE A FOOTBALLER, UR 23 AND STILL IN DENMARK SECOND LEAGUE. PLS GO BACK TO USA AND SEARCH FOR ANOTHER JOB. MAYBE US GOV IN FUTURE.
Anonymous
posted: 11:45 am
BROS....EVERYBODY CANNOT BE A FOOTBALLER, UR 23 AND STILL IN DENMARK SECOND LEAGUE. PLS GO BACK TO USA AND SEARCH FOR ANOTHER JOB. MAYBE US GOV IN FUTURE.
The word.
posted: 01:59 pm
@joker
that is not a nice word to say. not many footballers have the luck to play in top teamsand top leagues.this guy might be good]for siasia to have called him to camp].

wish him best of luck. if nigeria doesnt want him, yankee will soon come for him.
The word.
posted: 02:02 pm
but is this not just cheap image making from KON?

i want to ask; can someone pay KO to publish his/her info on their webpage? i have alots of footballer i wanted to sponsor in nigeria and aborad.
Anonymous
posted: 02:37 pm
@the word....
We have better defender than him...One of the Niger top team in the league can beat denmark top teams let alone their division 2..we have more defenders in our league, if this guy is good he will not listen to any offer frm niger..he will play for usa. think abt this.
Anonymous
posted: 02:37 pm
@the word....
We have better defender than him...One of the Niger top team in the league can beat denmark top teams let alone their division 2..we have more defenders in our league, if this guy is good he will not listen to any offer frm niger..he will play for usa. think abt this.
IKKALU
posted: 02:56 pm
@undiscovered: Please don't say that because you are Chelsea fan, me i don't support any club only SE because is my darling National team i have no other SE in this world.

First is incomparable between Mikel and Xavi, you cant compare Drogba and Eto when it come to every thing in football, who is like Messi in Chelsea? then talk about Daniel Avres, talk about iniester, all this guys are there but Xavi still make way and score and still supply ball to them to score even when ronaldiho was there XAVi scores, men accept it their Talent and class in football, all the attackers in Chelsea are not even Match to Samuel ETO in every thing both achievement in football, so don't talk about Chelsea as if they have been wining the UCL like other big clubs in Europe, as far as i am concern Mikel do not have that power & strength to play like all this world class holding midfielders, Chelsea is only good in EPL.

XAvi win the Nigeria 99 U20 world cup with Spain He win Euro , he win Euro U19 with Spain in fact he win world best holding midfielder Mikel was not even among top 20, at 33 Ambrosini of AC Milan is in the Top 10 holding midfielders, look at check the records you will know how far, ETO is the best striker in Africa, the only player i respect is George Weah, who does not even have time to make noise like Drogber, i wonder if Mess know where they make tattoo, or wive hair or open ears, just look at ETO you will not see even one tattoo in his body, simple and a role model.
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