Former Super Eagles forward, John Utaka, never thought of breaking a club’s transfer record before setting out as a professional footballer. The Nigeria international, who currently plies his trade with Turkish club, Sivasspor, broke the record for transfers in Qatar when he joined Al Sadd for $1 million (about N199m).
The Enugu-born forward had also broken the transfer record while at Portsmouth, a feat Utaka insists is due to getting things done the right way. “No I did not expect it to happen, but I work very hard, pray and believe that once I put in my best in what I do, good things will come,” he says.
In Egypt, the ex-Eagles star enjoyed a successful period at the Dervishes during the 2000/2001 season, scoring 17 goals in 21 appearances as well as winning both the Egyptian Premier League and Cup with the club.
“You know football is a collective sport; without good players in the Ismaily club, it would have been difficult to make it. I am thankful we had a very good team,” admitted Utaka, who made over 40 appearances in two seasons at Arab Contractors after joining them in 1998.
After spending over four seasons in the Egyptian topflight, Utaka would not be boxed into picking the best player he had played with during his stay in the North African nation.
“I played with a lot of good players in Egypt, so it’s difficult for me to pick the best,” the Nigerian said. However, the former Enugu Rangers winger was quick to add that he still misses the chants of Ismaily fans, especially the song, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Utaka.”