Nigerian international and USL FC Tulsa’s striker has likened the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) to a gold-smithing process.
The NPFL is regarded by a large number of Nigerian players as “difficult and rigorous” but the former Akwa United star believes his experience was a refining process while it lasted.
“I would say that the NPFL has been a great blessing to Nigerian players that have tested it,” Udoh stated in an interview with Comfort FM’s Mighty George.
“It has molded us for opportunities like this (playing abroad) and challenges like this. Because when you want to go through a good process, it’s not always easy.
People see it (and) it has always been like a suffering zone for players because of the way the league is and you travel on the road for two days but I would say that when gold is been processed, it passes through fire, it doesn’t pass through a smooth process. It passes through heat to make it gold that we all admire.
The road to success is not always that easy and I think Nigerian league has shaped us in that process. I think I am strong now to face anything I will see in this place. I hear players say in Nigerian league we run too much, we do that much, but you know, here might not be the length of a training but the intensity of the training.
So, what we saw in Nigerian league has really shaped us over there. It has made us strong (and) thick to withstand any pressure.”
The former Enyimba goal poacher emerged the highest goal scorer at the 2016 CAF Champions League after clinching nine goals despite the club’s exit in the knockout stage of the competition. He had recorded the highest number of goals ever scored by a player in a single NPFL season by netting 23 goals in his debut season for the Elephants of Aba.
It was thought that his success would culminate into a move abroad but the 27-year-old only stayed on in Aba till 2017 before returning to his home team. He won the NPFL golden boot for a second time on his return but with 10 goals.
His second season at the Uyo based club was a pale comparison to his previous season as he could only find the back of the net twice.
However, his sterling performance over the years got him on the radar of United States Championship League side, FC Tulsa who snapped off the Super Eagles striker midway through the season in January.
For many fans of the 27-year-old, the move was long overdue.
“Well, I wouldn’t say I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to go out,” Udoh said.
“I had several opportunities to go out but I think I was the one who actually delayed everything. I know that in most of my interviews I always say when the right time comes, I will move.
And everybody must not move at the same pace. Most of the players moved a year, some immediately after they scored their goals, some moved two years later. Life is a journey and everybody has his own pace, everybody has his own route. So I think mine was just different because I think I am a different parson and I was waiting for the right and appointed time and I think the time came and I made the move.”
Udoh who began his journey in Nigeria’s topflight division with Akwa United in 2012 before moving to Enyimba in 2013 extolled the Promise Keepers for the support he enjoyed during his second stint at the club.
“I think that is one of the best clubs I have played for in terms of player transfer. I had all the support I needed when I was leaving. I didn’t hear anything like “no”. The only think I heard was “go and excel. Go and God bless you”. So, it was amazing.”