John Chukwudi Utaka, also known as John Utaka, is a Nigerian footballer born on January 8, 1982 in Enugu. His Igbo name, Chukwudi, means "There is God". John Utaka plays as a winger as well as a striker and was included into the Nigeria national football team in 2002. John Utaka was a part of the 2002 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup squad and he started four of Nigeria's six games in the 2006 African Cup of Nations, where they finished 3rd. He has also represented his homeland in 2004 and 2008 at the Africa Cup of Nations. He has made 34 appearances and scored 5 times for the national team as of 2008.
John Utaka started his football career in 1997 at Enugu Rangers, a Nigerian Division one football team. After making 45 appearances and scoring 11 times for Enugu Rangers during 1999-00, he moved to Ismaily SC, an Egyptian sports club in 2000. His stint with Ismaily became a sensation as he earned cult status among the local fans. During his tenure with the club, he has appeared in 21 games and scored 17 goals. John Utaka moved to Al-Sadd Sports Club of Qatar to play for the season of 2001-02. He went on to join Racing Club de Lens (RC Lens), a French football club and played 102 games for it scoring 24 times during 2002-05 seasons.
John Utaka signed Stade Rennais F.C. in 2005 and had the most successful spell of his career in the season that followed. He netted back-to-back Ligue 1 hat-tricks against RC Lens and Olympique Lyonnais and received the L'Equipe's Player of the Month award for his feat. After playing for clubs across three continents, John Utaka joined Portsmouth F.C. in July 2007 on a four-year-deal for an astounding fee of £7m. John Utaka scored his first goal for the club on August 11, 2007 against Derby County F.C. He provided the cross for the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Cardiff City at the Football Association (FA) Cup on May 17, 2008.