“we all had the DESIRE to win that day, even when JPV Marikina was leading us 1-0 in the first half, we never gave up. We kept striving and pushing ourselves till the final whistle in the game because hard work really pays off…”
It was a historic day last weekend for northern team as they grasp their first ever win (1-2) away in the Philippine Football League. FM360 decided to reach out to the Man-of-the-Match Nigerian-Filipino Kennedy Uzoka to find out more about this unforgettable moment in his career and the club’s achievement.
How did it feel scoring at that moment and giving Illocos their first win in the history of the club?
“I mean, scoring the winning goal for Ilocos last weekend was one of my greatest moments in my football career, we all had the DESIRE to win that day, even when JPV Marikina was leading us 1-0 in the first half, we never gave up. We kept striving and pushing ourselves till the final whistle in the game because hard work really pays off.”
Who did you think your first win will come from?
“Actually, we thought our first win will come from Davao Aguilas, since they are also a new team in the league like us but eventually we drew against them twice already. We still have 2 more games to against them and we hope to get 6 points out of Davao.”
Can you tell us what it felt like playing in the PFL at first?
“Playing in the PFL is a big difference from playing in the UFL, because it feels like playing in a professional league and it’s quite organized well because of the home and away games but the only problem is the schedules of the PFL games.”
Who are the hardest defenders you have come across this season?
“For me, the hardest defenders would be the defenders from FC Meralco Manila. They are more organised and compact in the back line. Joaquin Canas and Tyler Matas are the hardest defenders I have come across this season.”
After playing in Manila, school, UFL, WFL, and now at the pinnacle of Philippine club football, what is the difference playing at home in Ilocos and playing away here in Manila?
“I started my football career in 2012 in the Philippines and so many things have changed here with the Philippine football especially playing at home and away, it is a big difference! I mean football in the country is still growing and things are getting better every year, playing at home in Ilocos feels better and it gives us more advantage because of our Ilocos supporters. It gives us more time to properly practice at home and playing away games gives us less time for the preparation due to the travel. But the Ilocos team are always ready and organised even if we play our away games.”
At the moment you play with your twin-like younger brother Chima, how does that feel, playing in the same team as your brother professionally?
“It feels great playing with my brother in the same professional team, we used to play for Team Socceroo before in 2014 but then I was in the senior team while he was in the u17 and u19 youth team of Socceroo. Now that we are both teammates and it feels better playing with him side by side, we usually learn from each other and advice each other in training and before games. He has been doing well in the league so far, scoring 4 goals for Ilocos at the age of 19 years old. So I am happy he is here with me in Ilocos United FC.”
Ilocos United go against Ceres Negros this Saturday away without the acrobatic winger due to suspension. At the moment, Ilocos United sit at bottom of the table level on seven (7) points with 13 goals behind Davao Aguilas FC, the only team yet to register a win this season. League leaders FC Meralco Manila and Kaya FC Makati face off at the University of Makati this weekend while the Stallions of Laguna host the Davao Aguilas in Binan.
Be sure to catch one of the games! For more updates on the league, visit the official page of the league via https://web.facebook.com/PhilippinesFootballLeagueOfficial/
Written by Kaman Lee A. Suleiman