Efe Eric Ambrose (born 18 October 1988) is a Nigerian footballer who last played as a centre back or a right back for EFL Championship side Derby County. Ambrose has previously played for Kaduna United, Bayelsa United, Israeli club Ashdod and Scottish clubs Celtic and Hibernian.
|Full name||Efe Eric Ambrose|
|Date of birth||18 October 1988|
|Place of birth||Kaduna, Nigeria|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back / Right back|
|2008–2009||→ Bayelsa United (loan)||24||(4)|
|2017||→ Hibernian (loan)||10||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:47, 4 January 2019 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10:16, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Ambrose started his professional career at Kaduna United in 2006 and two years later, he was loaned to Bayelsa United for the 2008–09 season but remained with Kaduna United after helping them win promotion.
Ambrose joined Scottish Premier League club Celtic in the summer 2012 transfer deadline day, signing a three-year contract. After joining the club, Ambrose praised his new teammates at Celtic for helping him settle down in Glasgow quickly. Ambrose also revealed he studied British football in order to join Celtic by watching both Scottish Premier League and English Premier League games on TV upon hearing about Celtic's interest in him.
Ambrose made his debut on 22 September 2012 as a substitute for Celtic captain Scott Brown against Dundee in the Scottish Premier League, a 2–0 victory. He made his full début against Raith Rovers in the Scottish League Cup, in a 4–1 victory. He scored his first goal for Celtic in a 5–0 win over St Mirren on 20 October 2012, celebrating the goal with a quadruple somersault. Ambrose went on to make his Champions League debut for Celtic, where he played 90 minutes in a 3–2 win over Spartak Moscow. On 4 November 2012, Ambrose headed in an own goal, in a 2–2 draw against Dundee United. After the match, Ambrose said he let himself down and felt that he could have cleared the ball away. On 7 November 2012, ahead of a Champions League game against Barcelona, Ambrose made a vow to give his best ever performance for the club. After a stunning performance by the Celtic players, they won 2–1 and Ambrose said that winning against Barcelona was the 'perfect way to celebrate Celtic's 125th anniversary.
At the end of the Champions League group stage campaign, Celtic qualified for the knock-out stages and faced Italian side Juventus. In the first leg, Ambrose was named in the squad ahead of the match, only 3 days after Nigeria had won the Africa Cup of Nations, Ambrose had played the full 90 minutes in the final. However, Ambrose made several mistakes during the match, allowing Alessandro Matri (first goal) and Mirko Vučinić (third goal) to score with ease. He also missed the club's best chance to score late in the game. His performance was criticised by teammate Kris Commons. Though criticised, Ambrose was defended by Kelvin Wilson, who believed that Ambrose would bounce back from his disappointing performance. Ambrose made amends in the next league game when he scored Celtic's opener in a 6–2 win over Dundee United. Ambrose's (along with Commons) performance was praised by Neil Lennon. Three days later, he scored again, in a 1–1 draw against St Johnstone. Ahead of the second leg against Juventus, Ambrose said that Commons' criticism inspired him to become a better player. After the match, which Juventus won 2–0 and progressed to the quarter finals, Neil Lennon stated that Ambrose was late for training and missed the team bus from the hotel and was left to catch up by taxi. Lennon also stated that Ambrose needed to "sort himself out."
Since 2013, Ambrose has come under strong criticism from fans and pundits alike for frequent poor performances and errors which have led to opposition goals. On 31 August 2016, after becoming frozen out of the first-team at Celtic under new manager Brendan Rodgers, Celtic accepted a bid of £300,000 for Ambrose from Standard Liege, but the deal fell through after he opted to stay at Celtic Park. In February 2017, Ambrose's proposed loan move to Blackburn Rovers fell through, after the club was unable to obtain a work permit.
On 28 February 2017, Ambrose joined Hibernian on loan for the rest of the season. Ambrose scored his first goal for Hibs on 25 March, the opening goal of a 2–1 win in the Scottish Championship against Falkirk. He won the Scottish Championship player of the month award for March 2017.
After his contract with Celtic expired at the end of the season, Ambrose signed a two-year contract with Hibernian. Ambrose exercised a clause in his contract and left Hibernian in January 2019, despite the club offering him a new deal.
He was called up to Nigeria's 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. In the Africa Cup of Nations, Ambrose played five out of six games for Nigeria, playing in the right-back position, including the final which he started. After the tournament, Ambrose was named in the 2013 African Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament. Ambrose says winning the Africa Cup of Nations was his biggest achievement and one of the greatest moments of his life.
He was selected for Nigeria's squad at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Ambrose has not been selected since 2016, due to him losing his place at Celtic. He played regularly for Hibernian during the 2017–18 season, but was not recalled for the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad. This decision was criticised by former Nigeria manager Samson Siasia, who felt that Ambrose's experience would have been useful.
Style of play
Ambrose often played as a defensive midfielder for the Nigeria national football team and can also play as a centre back or right back, doing so in the Israeli Premier League at FC Ashdod. A ball playing centre-half, Efe is known for his composure in possession. He normally performs a somersault after scoring a goal.
|Ashdod||2010–11||Israeli Premier League||31||1||6||0||2||0||—||39||1|
|2011–12||Israeli Premier League||35||2||1||0||4||2||—||40||4|
|2012–13||Israeli Premier League||1||0||3||0||—||—||4||0|
|Celtic||2012–13||Scottish Premier League||27||3||5||0||2||0||7||0||41||3|
|1.||13 October 2012||U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria||1–0||6–1||2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|2.||6 September 2014||U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria||1–0||2–3||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|3.||11 October 2015||Edmond Machtens Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||1–0||3–0||Friendly|
|4.||17 November 2015||Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Nigeria||2–0||2–0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Nigerian Premier League (1): 2008–09
- Kaduna United
- Nigerian FA Cup (1): 2010
- Scottish Premiership (4): 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
- Scottish Cup (1): 2012–13
- Scottish League Cup (1): 2014–15
- Soccerbase did not record appearances made by Ambrose against NSI Runavik on 19 July Archived 19 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Asteras Tripolis on 26 July Archived 28 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine and 2 August Archived 3 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine, and Molde on 9 August Archived 9 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine and 16 August 2018 Archived 16 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
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