Okolie Odafa gave early indication of what lies ahead for defenders, setting up one goal and scoring another in Saturday’s 114th IFA Shield final. Satisfaction reflected in a smile that seemed brighter than the lights at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, the Churchill Brothers captain said playing the AFC Cup would spur him to do even better.
“I will have to work harder on my fitness and the team will have to organise itself better. Playing in Asia is a great opportunity,” he said of the chance to participate in Asia’s second-tier club tournament.
The massive frame still glistening in sweat from the afternoon’s labours, his coloured hair covered with confetti, Odafa, sitting by the sideline of the artificial turf, said a trophy this early in the season should “motivate” a new team to do better. “I am happy to have won my first IFA Shield. It’s over to the Durand (Cup) now.”
After Saturday, the Federation Cup is the only trophy Odafa, highest scorer of the I-League for the past three seasons, hasn’t won. “I think I will win it this year,” the Nigerian targetman said softly but with confidence that success breeds.