Omar: I’m gutted to leave but Worthing are going places

Omar Bugiel in action for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Omar Bugiel in action for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Omar Bugiel says he was gutted to leave Worthing Football Club but had to follow his dreams of playing as high as possible.

The 23-year-old joined National League high-flyers Forest Green Rovers for an undisclosed fee on a 18-month contract on Friday, after a week’s trial, and then came off the bench to set up the opener and score the second in his new side’s 2-0 win against Boreham Wood on Saturday.

Bugiel felt his career progressed massively in his three years with Worthing and is confident success is around the corner at Woodside Road. He said: “I think they can get in the play-offs. They’ve got great coaches in Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick and the board is ambitious and wants to go places.

“I hope they make it and I’m gutted I can’t be part of it because I had to move on and play as high as possible. But the boys are good enough and I wish them all the best.

“The fans there are the best as well. We did our bit on the pitch and they did their bit off the pitch and that’s what makes Worthing special. You don’t see that very often and I’m going to miss it massively.”

Bugiel, a fans’ favourite at Worthing, originally came to the country to learn English six years ago and said: “I was meant to stay for only a year but Chichester College and Adam Hinshelwood took me under their wings and helped me progress as a player.

“They are two big parts in my career and staying here to try to make it as a footballer was probably the best decision I’ve made in my life. I trusted people and made sure I learned when they told me what to do.

“I was always hoping to get into professional football. I was at a pro club in Germany (1860 Munich) but it didn’t work out and I was released when I was 15.

“As soon as I came over here, I started playing men’s football and it’s just changed my game. It’s more physical and I’ve stepped up to it.”

After breaking a leg at Selsey four years ago, Bugiel had thought about returning home but has not looked back after joining Worthing, when Hinshelwood was manager.

He said: “I progressed massively at Worthing. When I first got there I was still a kid, so people like Adam and Jon giving me and other young players an opportunity to play at a good standard of football was great.

“My mum has always said to me that you never know what will happen but just make sure you always make the most of it.

“That was my motivation, I knew I had to give it a go here because you never know what could happen. It was tough at first here but it’s nice to finally get rewarded and hopefully I’ll go again from here. This is only the start hopefully.”

It has been a whirlwind past week for Bugiel. After making his Forest Green debut on Saturday, he then had a lucky escape in the evening – walking away unscathed after a tyre blew on his car and he hit the central reservation on a road at 60mph.

He said: “It was a crazy 24 to 48 hours. I signed with Forest Green, scored and got an assist on my debut after coming off the bench and then the crash happened in the evening.

“It was something I’d never experienced in my life and hopefully it won’t happen again. I was driving home as it was Jamie Howell’s 40th birthday surprise party, so I was looking forward to seeing everyone and enjoying the moment of what had happened to me in the past 48 hours.

“But a tyre blew and I lost control of my car and hit the barrier full on, so I was lucky not to be injured at all.”

Looking ahead to the future, Bugiel will stay level-headed and said: “I’ve got to work my socks off to get into the squad at Forest Green.

“And if I’m not in it, I’ve got to support the lads because the three points is the main thing each game.”

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