BABY TAMARA PERFECT FOR DAD MAGNUS
THE life of a footballer sidelined by serious injury can be a very dark place, but for Magnus Okuonghae 2015 has still been one of his best years to date following the arrival of his daughter.
Having to leave the club he loves, Colchester United, after six years and being laid up for more than seven months following a ruptured Achilles means it has been a difficult year for the centre-back.
But, in January, baby Tamara entered Okuonghae’s life and played a big part in his rehabilitation as she helped keep his spirits high.
Okuonghae had gone under the knife two months earlier and missed the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign. And, with Colchester reducing their wage bill and putting more emphasis on youth, their captain was not offered a new contract and faced an uncertain summer.
But despite still not being fully fit, Okuonghae had several contract offers and ended up signing a two-year deal with Luton Town in July.
“Colchester were not doing unbelievably well during the time I was injured and it was so frustrating that I couldn’t be out there trying to do my bit for the cause,” said Okuonghae.
“But my daughter was a welcome distraction for me. It meant I could be there for the birth of my child and I have been able to bond with her over the early months which you don’t usually get the chance to do as a father, so it was definitely positive.
“The injury was upsetting and frustrating but it has still been a brilliant year.”
The 29-year-old was not in a position to challenge for a starting place at the beginning of the campaign and was limited to just two outings in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for his new club.
So he spoke to manager John Still about the need to secure more game time as he stepped up his comeback and, a couple of days later, Luton received a call from Hartlepool United.
It was agreed Okuonghae could join the fellow League Two side on a one-month loan on October 16 and he has played the full 90 minutes in all three of Pools’ games since joining prior to this weekend.
“I needed to play games because I knew the frustration would become too much for me if I didn’t because of the time that I had out already,” he added.
“In my head, it is about getting games and going back to Luton to challenge to play in that team because I am a confident individual and I know I am good enough to play in that team – and in League One – from playing at Colchester for six years. For now, I am just concentrating on helping Hartlepool as much as I can.”
PROUD FATHER: Magnus Okuonghae and daughter Tamara
BACK PLAYING: Magnus Okuong hae is on loan at Hartlepool