Hendon striker Kezie Ibe has ‘unfinished business’ at the club

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 June 2016

Kezie Ibe (centre) in action for Hendon (Pic: Derek Beech)

Kezie Ibe (centre) in action for Hendon (Pic: Derek Beech)


Hendon striker Kezie Ibe says the feeling of “unfinished business” played a crucial role in his decision to spurn offers from elsewhere and sign a new contract with the Greens.

Ibe, who is preparing to enter his third season on Hendon’s books, revealed that he felt he owed the club some loyalty after a year to forget for all concerned with the Ryman League Premier Division outfit last term.

He said: “I’m really pleased to sign a new deal with Hendon. I’m looking forward to the new season now, and hopefully we can push on and do a lot better than we did last year, because we know as a group we are capable of so much more.

“I did have quite a few offers elsewhere, but it was a case of unfinished business for me at Hendon.

“We didn’t do anywhere near as well as we could have last season, so I felt I owed it to the manager and the fans to stay, ultimately.

“There were a few higher options for me that I could have explored, but out of respect to the club I declined them and hopefully I’ve made the right choice.

He continued: “It was always going to be hard to replicate our first season [where we got to the play-off final].

“Some of the faces that were around that team will be back so I’m hoping we can kind of build on that and enjoy similar success to what we did two years ago.”

Ibe added: “There’s been a lot of off-field issues with the team and that caused a lot of the players to move on for pastures new and what not.

“There were personal issues, a lot of injury problems within the squad and all the other stuff on top of it.

“If you look on paper it was a disappointing season, but if people knew what was going on underneath the surfaces just staying in the division was a huge plus for us – as we could easily have gone down.

“Every experience in your life is a valuable one, whatever the outcome, and you learn from it. I’m sure we will and hopefully we can push on for better things this season.

“A few of the lads are coming back now though, so hopefully we can recreate the same kind of team bond and quality we had two years ago, which got us to within touching distance of promotion.”

One of those players is fans’ favourite Andre Da Costa, who finished last season with Metropolitan Police after his surprise exit last December.

And veteran striker Ibe believes Da Costa can be a huge player as the Greens look to reverse their fortunes this term.

“Andre is a fantastic player on his day, so if he can get back to the levels he has shown in the past then that will be massive for us.

“He was a joy to play with before and I’m sure he will be again and most importantly we hope he will be a real asset to this team.”

The 33-year-old says he is relishing the latest chapter in Hendon’s history as they prepare to kick off the 2016-17 campaign in their new home, Silver Jubilee Park, in Kingsbury.

“It’s exciting times at the club. There’s already a bit of a buzz around the place,” said Ibe. “Personally I can’t wait to get going.

“We’ll be training and playing at SJP, and I think that will work to our advantage.

“A lot of the players we have are suited to that 3G pitch, so it should be really good.”

Ibe believes Hendon still need some more reinforcements before the new season begins, but says they are not far away from having a very competitive squad at their level.

“It’s a small world so I know Gary is talking to a few players at the minute,” admitted Ibe.

“If he can add to the squad between now and the start of the season, we’ll give ourselves a really good chance of having a successful season, as we’re not too far away squad wise though.

“Training has been going well with [coach] Scott Cousins. He’s one of the best around and every session we have with him is really structured and unique.”

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