A versatile forward full of pace and power and possessing of a blinding shot, it’s no wonder that coach Lars Lagerback included Ikechukwu Uche in his Nigeria team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ even though he only recently came back from long-term injury. The younger brother of Super Eagles midfielder Kalu Uche, Ike was joint top scorer - with Victor Obinna on four goals - in qualifying for the finals despite the fact that he tore a ligament in his knee in September of last year and missed the final two preliminaries. Before then, he had been in confident mood, becoming a first choice for previous coach Shaibu Amodu and playing a vital role in 10 matches on the run up to South Africa.
He also impressed on the international stage in the summer of 2009 when he starred in Nigeria’s shock 1-0 friendly victory over France outside Paris. He had a lobbed shot saved off the line and set up the only goal with a shot off the post in that famous win. His performance was enough for notable spotter of talent, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, to sing his praises. Uche has been known in Spanish footballing circles since he started impressing with Recreativo in 2003, and he spent a couple of years at Getafe before moving to newly promoted Zaragoza at the start of last season. In only his second match, he went down with injury and missed all but the tail end of the season. He also missed out on Nigeria’s third-place finish at the CAF 2010 Cup of Nations, though he played well at the 2008 edition of the tournament - appearing in three of their four matches.