Kalu Uche

Kalu Uche (born 15 November 1982) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward.

Kalu Uche
Personal information
Full name Kalu Uche
Date of birth (1982-11-15) 15 November 1982
Place of birth Aba, Nigeria
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Enyimba International
1999–2000 Iwuanyanwu Nationale
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2001 Espanyol B
2001–2005 Wisła Kraków 54 (11)
2004–2005Bordeaux (loan) 24 (1)
2005–2011 Almería 172 (39)
2011–2012 Neuchâtel Xamax 14 (6)
2012 Espanyol 15 (5)
2012–2013 Kasımpaşa 34 (19)
2013–2014 El Jaish 8 (4)
2014–2015 Al-Rayyan 8 (7)
2015 Levante 16 (5)
2015 Pune City 11 (4)
2016–2017 Almería 28 (5)
2017–2018 Delhi Dynamos 15 (13)
2018–2019 ATK 11 (1)
National team
2003–2012 Nigeria 37 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 3 March 2019

He spent most of his career in Spain, mainly with Almería, with which he amassed La Liga totals of 117 matches and 27 goals (212 appearances and 45 goals all competitions comprised). He also competed professionally in Poland, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Qatar and India.

A Nigeria international in the 2000s, Uche represented his country at the 2010 World Cup and the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

Club career

Early years

Born in an Aba, Abia, Uche's career began in Nigeria with Enyimba International F.C. and Iwuanyanwu Nationale. In the 2000–01 season he joined RCD Espanyol B in Spain, failing to receive any first-team opportunities and competing with the reserves in the third division.

Uche then transferred to Wisła Kraków, playing there until 2005 – winning the Ekstraklasa three times and Polish Cup twice – except for the 2004–05 campaign when he represented FC Girondins de Bordeaux, on loan.[1]


For 2005–06, Uche moved to UD Almería, and was instrumental in helping the Andalusia club to its first ever La Liga promotion in his second year, scoring eight league goals (with three in the last five matches). He made his debut in the competition on 26 August 2007, coming from the bench in a 3–0 away win against Deportivo de La Coruña.[2]

On 11 January 2009, profiting from the absence of first-choice Álvaro Negredo, Uche netted both goals in a 2–2 draw at Espanyol.[3] On 5 December, he scored his team's second goal at Real Madrid for the 2–1, but the hosts eventually rallied back to 4–2.[4]

In the following summer, Negredo was sold to Sevilla FC – via Real Madrid – and Uche became Almería's most important offensive reference.[5] He finished the 2009–10 season with a career-best nine goals, including a brace on 4 May 2010 against Villarreal CF in a 4–2 home win, which all but certified permanence in the top level for another year.[6]

Uche was only available to manager Juan Manuel Lillo one month into 2010–11, due to fitness problems.[7] In the second match upon his return, on 26 September 2010, he scored twice in a 2–0 success at Deportivo for Almería's first win of the campaign,[8] going on to net seven in 32 games as the club was finally relegated after a four-year stay.

Neuchâtel / Espanyol

On 4 August 2011, Uche joined Swiss Super League side Neuchâtel Xamax on a two-year deal.[9] He left in the following transfer window, however, and returned to Espanyol, immerse in a deep injury crisis to its attacking line, signing until June 2013.[10]

Uche opened his scoring account for his new club on 25 February 2012 in a 1–2 home loss against Levante UD.[11] On 11 March, he put three past Rayo Vallecano in another home fixture (5–1).[12]

Late career

On 20 July 2012, Uche moved to Turkish club Kasımpaşa SK, signing a three-year contract. On 1 October of the following year he switched teams and countries again, penning a deal with El Jaish SC in Qatar.[13]

Uche signed an 18-month contract with Levante UD on 29 January 2015, after a short stint at Al Rayyan SC.[14] On 7 January 2016 he returned to Almería, after spending six months at FC Pune City;[15] he began his third spell at the latter club in February 2017, joining until 30 June as a free agent.[16]

International career

Uche made his debut for Nigeria on 21 June 2003, in an African Nations Cup qualifier against Angola, scoring in the process.[17] He represented the nation at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, going scoreless for the eventual third-placed team.

After a solid club season Uche was picked for that year's FIFA World Cup, in South Africa: on 17 June, against Greece, he opened the score from a free kick, but the Africans soon were reduced to ten men and lost 1–2.[18] In the third and last game he also scored the opener, eventually earning Nigeria's only point in the competition in a 2–2 draw against South Korea.[19]

International goals


Goal #DateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetition
1.21 June 2003Samuel Ogbemudia, Benin City, Nigeria Angola
2004 African Cup of Nations qualification
2.27 May 2008UPC-Arena, Graz, Austria Austria
3.17 June 2010Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa Greece
2010 FIFA World Cup
4.22 June 2010Moses Mabhida, Durban, South Africa South Korea
2010 FIFA World Cup
5.15 November 2011Ahmadu Bello, Kaduna, Nigeria Zambia
6.12 April 2012Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Egypt

Personal life

Uche's younger brother, Ikechukwu Uche, is also a footballer. Also a forward, he too spent most of his senior career in Spain (they are not related to two other players, Uche Okechukwu and Ikechukwu Kalu).[25]


  1. "Uche gives Bordeaux a go". UEFA. 30 August 2004. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  2. "Recital del Almería en su regreso a Primera" [Almería recital in their return to Primera]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 26 August 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. "Espanyol 2–2 Almeria". ESPN Soccernet. 11 January 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  4. "Ronaldo endures eventful night". ESPN Soccernet. 5 December 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  5. "Sin Asenjo ni Negredo" [Neither Asenjo nor Negredo]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 30 August 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  6. "Almeria boost survival hopes". ESPN Soccernet. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  7. "Kalu Uche se desvive por reconquistar a Lillo" [Kalu Uche goes the extra mile to win Lillo over again]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 17 September 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  8. "Uche breaks Almeria duck". ESPN Soccernet. 26 September 2010. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  9. "Les rouge et noir passent à l'offensive" [The red-and-black go offensive] (in French). Neuchâtel Xamax. 4 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  10. "Kalu Uche ficha por el Espanyol" [Kalu Uche ficha por el Espanyol]. Sport (in Spanish). 30 January 2012. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  11. "Levante claim last-gasp win". ESPN Soccernet. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  12. "Uche y Coutinho ponen la magia en Cornellá" [Uche and Coutinho bring the magic to Cornellá]. Marca (in Spanish). 11 March 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  13. "Uche arrives in the QSL". Qatar Stars League. 1 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  14. "Kalu Uche ya es nuevo jugador del Levante UD" [Kalu Uche is already a new player of Levante UD] (in Spanish). Levante UD. 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 30 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  15. "Kalu Uche regresa al Almería para potenciar el ataque del equipo rojiblanco" [Kalu Uche returns to Almería to bolster the attack of the red-and-white team] (in Spanish). UD Almería. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  16. "Vuelve Kalu Uche, 'dinamita' para el ataque del Almería" [Kalu Uche, 'dynamite' for Almería offense, returns]. Marca (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  17. "2003 matches". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  18. Fletcher, Paul (17 June 2010). "Greece 2–1 Nigeria". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  19. Vesty, Marc (22 June 2010). "Nigeria 2–2 South Korea". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 26 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  20. "K. Uche – Matches". Soccerway. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  21. "African Nations Cup 2004". RSSSF. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  22. "Premieren-Tor von Kienast beim 1:1 gegen Nigeria – Korkmaz feiert ÖFB-Debüt" [First goal for Kienast in 1:1 against Nigeria – Korkmaz celebrates national team debut] (in German). Austrian Football Association. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  23. "Los hermanos Uche guían la victoria de Nigeria" [Uche brothers guide Nigeria win]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 15 November 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  24. "Kalu Uche – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  25. "La liga de los hermanos Uche" [The league of Uche brothers]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 September 2005. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
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