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Chima Okorie Interview

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 07/06/2001

The Fishy brings you an interview with former Grimsby Town striker Chima Okorie, still a cult hero in some quarters amongst Town supporters.

Despite Chima's limited number of appearances in a black and white shirt, the Nigerian is fondly remembered by those who saw him play for Grimsby, and at least one Cod Head has included the now 32-year-old striker in his all-time Grimsby line-up! This despite the Nigerian-born frontman having made just five substitute appearances in a Town shirt back in 1993, and never scoring a league goal! Quite some impression!

Okorie, who is currently serving a two year ban imposed by the India Football Federation, has started an ambitious project via his web site to help youngsters in remote parts of India (eventually extending to others parts of the third world) launch football and cricket careers in the West.

Chima, who scored over three hundred goals in his fifteen-year career in India, reveals in his interview that he is looking to return to the UK as a player when his two year ban from football ends in September.

Some of Chima's former clubs: Mohun Bagan (India), East Bengal (India), Grimsby (5/0), Peterborough (0/0), Torquay Utd (36/6), Ikast (Denmark), Sogndal (Norway)

Fishy:
You spent most of your career in India. Can you explain how you came to arrive at Grimsby Town in 1993?

Chima:
It was more of a fate thing. I had gone to Peterborough to watch them play against Grimsby town. I had gone with my friend Paul Walker. After the game, we spoke to Alan Buckley and he wanted me to come for trials. I guess I made some impression. That is how I landed in Grimsby Town.

Fishy:
I believe you made your Grimsby debut against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Can you recall the game? Do you remember the away game at Tranmere, a game which Grimsby supporters talk of to this day?

Chima:
I remember coming on for someone and doing my little bit. By the way, Tranmere Rovers was my debut game.

Fishy:
What is your fondest memory of your time at Blundell Park?

Chima:
My memory of the entire Grimsby Town serves me till this day. I really loved the time I had in Grimsby.

Fishy:
You broke your leg just after arriving at Blundell Park. Do you think this stopped your chances of being signed up by the Mariners? Who knows what the future holds? Certainly not I.

Fishy:
What did you make of Alan Buckley as a manager? Which players at Blundell Park do you particularly recall, and do you still keep in touch when any of them?

Chima:
I recall Clive Mendonca. Sitting at the back of his car as we set out on that ride , from Grimsby to Scunthorpe. There was Crofty as well and Jim Dobbin. I recall the whole lot. Shame, I am not in touch with any of them. Will you help me with their e-mail adds? [Ed - any former Town players from Chima's day reading this can contact him via www.chimaokorie.co.uk]

Fishy:
You were banned for two years by the India Football Federation for assaulting a referee. What happened?

Chima:
I did not assault anyone. The referee gave a dubious penalty decision against my side in a cliffhanger of a match. My players, some of them, hit the referee. They were captured on the tape. The tape clearly reveals my innocence. The day they heard my case, they made me sign that under no circumstance will video evidence be used. I signed because even the local newspapers in Calcutta identified all my team - mates that assaulted the referee. I was stunned when they banned me for two years with a hefty fine as well. Whoever gets two years ban? Nobody but me.

Fishy:
Now that you've retired from football you've set up an academy to train young players in Calcutta. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Chima:
I am not retired Rob. I am only thirty-three years. The ban should end by September and then I will like to come and play in the UK again. I am a much improved all round player. As for my project for the kids of India, it is a project dreamt on a global basis as can be mirrored from 'The Future' on my site - www.chimaokorie.co.uk I want to start a pro-sports Academy. It should emphasise more on the kids from the remotest parts of India. I have approached a few companies for a joint Venture or even sponsorship. I am waiting for their response.

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