Penn Orji career in India started as a teenager with JCT FC in 2009 and he was an instant success at the club. The Nigerian midfielder is forever grateful to the Punjabi club for giving him the opportunity to kick-start his career.
Reminiscing fond memories from his JCT days, Orji told Goal, “JCT is the club which gave me the opportunity to start my career in the top flight of Indian football. I have some lovely memories there. The Punjab culture is different from West Bengal and other places where I have played.
“I felt at home there and the support from the coach and the players were tremendous. After just one month into the league, I was handed the captain’s armband. I gave my all for the team and was ready to put my life on the line for them.”
Orji was all praise for his former coach at JCT, the legendary Sukhwinder Singh, who played a key role in churcning out talent from Punjab. The crafty midfielder hailed the Punjabi for the work he did at the club and for giving him enough opportunities.
“That season we did a very good job. Coach Sukhwinder (Singh) did a very good job. Sometimes when I tell people about him, I say he is more than a coach, he is like a father. He is a monk. The man really kept the team together,” said the former East Bengal player.
Harping further on the quality of that team, Orji said, “JCT was the team who sold the most number of players the next season than any other team. I remember the entire starting eleven were contacted by other clubs. Four of us left the club to join East Bengal. That just shows how good the team was. I had one of the most precious memories from India at JCT.”