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Soccer News of Friday, 2 September 2022

Source: soccernet.ng

Future Super Eagles number one? Meet Nigerian goalkeeper who just penned a deal with Midtjylland

Mark Ugboh Mark Ugboh

Nigerian goalkeeper Mark Ugboh has penned a new five-year contract with Danish giants FC Midtjylland.

It is not the first time that a Nigerian player would be associated with the three-time Superligaen champions.

In recent times, Midtjylland has served as a fertile ground for Nigerian footballers to grow before launching into mainstream Europe.

Paul Onuachu, Frank Onyeka, and Raphael Onyedika are just some of the top names that have emerged from the club. The reason for this is because of their partnership with Nigerian academy FC Ebedei.

For Ugboh who also started at FC Ebedei, he would look at some of his compatriots who have donned the Midtjylland jersey and hope for good times ahead.

Ugboh started his sojourn in Europe in January, joining the Midtjylland Under-19 team from FC Ebedei. And so far, he has proven his ability beyond doubt in his nine-month stay.

The 19-year-old played seven games for the youth side and kept five clean sheets.

In fact, his performances earned him a place in the first team, making the bench in Midtjylland’s Champions League qualifiers against Benfica and AEK Larnaca this season.

Following his brilliance, the club have promoted Ugboh to the senior team, whilst handing him a five-year contract.

“We believe in him”- Midtjylland goalkeeper coach

The Super Eagles hopeful has endeared himself to the club, and goalkeeper coach Lasse Heinze has only good words for him.

“Mark has developed a lot in the last six months”, Heinze said via the Midtjylland website.

“There is still a long way to go, but when he came up here, he had never been given a goalkeeping role before.

“All the things he possessed were all something he had learned himself. Some of those things are not something you just learn. In the past year, we have focused particularly on his technical level, and he has really embraced that, and he is moving all the time.

“We believe in him, just as we believe in all our other goalkeepers from the academy. Now we need to have further developed Mark, so that hopefully one day he will play matches inside the MCH Arena.

“He is a calm goalkeeper who, despite his young age, looks like someone who has been in goal all his life. He is an offensive-minded goalkeeper and he has many of the basic things we want to see from our keepers.”

Despite his new contract, Ugboh would still have to bid his time before he mans the sticks for Midtjylland. Former Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lössl remains the first choice at the club.

Nonetheless, if he continues growing at his current pace, it would only be a matter of time before he becomes number one and earn a national team call-up, especially with the paucity of quality shot-stoppers in the national team.