He’s rarely been in the spotlight since he signed for us- he has shied away from the limelight and from media attention. It hasn’t been helped by the fact that he is deployed in a role where unless you are looking for him, you wouldn’t pay attention to him or indeed acknowledge the responsibility he’s burdened with in a game.
He rarely is at the end of the final ball- the viewers will remember how the striker raced onto the ball and finished it brilliantly or fluffed it. But someone sent a nicely weighted pass that the striker galloped to. Hardly would anyone ask – “Who passed that ball?” TV helps but why aren’t NPFL matches on TV? And why don’t clubs push out their match videos?
When we signed Ikechukwu Bartholomew Ibenegbu aka Mosquito from Warri Wolves two seasons ago, close followers of the league were in no doubt as to his quality, experience and ability on the ball. The trolley dash nature of those signings and the pressure to at least replicate the previous season’s feat gave no room for the true quality to shine to the fore.
Yes, there were those games where Mosquito’s wizardry on the ball decided the outcome. Especially in the earlier stages of the Champions League’s games at that abandoned campsite of the Adokiye Amiesimaka at the backside of Port Harcourt last season. There were some games as well, where he did far too little, sometimes embarrassingly (Sundowns in South Africa).
The move of
my friend Nzube Anaezemba to Rivers United meant that we entered the new season with Ibenegbu as our major creative midfielder. And baring a few games where he sat out due to injury, he has established himself as not just a regular, but one whose influence has kept us within touching distance of the title.
Chinonso Okonkwo deserved took the plaudits for Wednesday’s win over El-Kanemi Warriors but aside producing the pass that set Abalogu through for the penalty, and netting the penalty itself, Mosquito had a hand in two of the other three goals.
ThatEnyimbaFan spoke with him after the game and he disclosed that It has been a difficult past couple of days for him following the death of Coach Kelechi Emetole who he says is more than a father to him. In his words, “God made me who I am today in football through him. I must dedicate my goal and the victory to my late football father Emetole Kelechi”.
On the club’s targets for the season, Ibenegbu says; “We still believe that we can win the league and the FA Cup and we are seriously working towards that. This season, the players are more committed and disciplined than last season. We can push and achieve our target for the season”.
And while we say Amen, take a bow for us efforts so far this season, Mosquito.