…NPFL hotshot, Lokosa, for SK Brann medical
It was a weekend of celebration as Super Eagles players and prospects scored goals for fun in international club friendlies across Europe and in the Chinese Super League. Leading the goals rush is 2018 World Cup misfit, Odion Jude Ighalo, who scored his second goal in as many matches for his Chinese team.
In the less fancied Vietnamese League, Chinedu Udoka scored twice while Michael Olaha also contributed a goal for his club. Other goal scorers include; Ifeanyi Ofoegbu, Sunderland’s Joshua Maja, Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjylland) and new Galatasaray signing, Henry Onyekuru, who dedicated his strike to the fans.
Meanwhile, the domestic league top scorer, Junior Lokosa is on the verge of realising his ambition of playing in Europe after being lined up for a medical at Norwegian club, SK Brann.
ADEBAYO OLODAN reports on the exploits of Nigerian players from England to Asian and African Leagues.
Iwobi agrees new Arsenal deal
Alex Iwobi is on the verge of signing a long term deal at Arsenal.
The deal is an improvement on the midfielder’s current deal and it is expected to run until June 2022. The player is expected to put pen to paper this week following interest from AS Lazio. The Italian club has reportedly offered to pay Arsenal £20 million for the services of the 22-year-old who is valued at £22.3m by the English club.
Awoniyi set for Belgium return
Young Liverpool striker, Taiwo Awoniyi was not part of the club’s 29-man squad travelling to the USA as the former U-17 player is likely to return to Belgium, where he is being courted by Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Club Brugge.
The 20-year-old who last week, signed a long term deal with the English club has played on loan at Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen and last season at Royal Mouscron in Belgium scoring 10 goals in 31 appearances for the club.
St. Truiden keen on Akpom
Belgian club, St. Truiden has emerged favourites to sign Arsenal’s Nigerian-born forward, Chuba Akpom this summer.
Akpom played on loan at the same club last season, after Arsenal allowed him make the temporary switch to the Belgian side in January, with the 22-year-old registering six goals from 16 appearances in all competitions.
Akpom has since returned to his parent club but is not featuring in the plans of new boss Unai Emery and the Gunners are looking to sell off the academy graduate.
The North London outfit hopes to receive about £2m for the former England U-21 international, who has only made one start and 11 substitute outings for the club.
Though clubs from France are also interested in Akpom, but St. Truiden is the most likely destination for him.
Such it is, after they provided him with regular action last term, for the first time since a loan spell at Hull City during the 2015-16 season.
Leicester rejects Al Nasr £12m bid for Musa
Leicester City has reportedly turned down an offer in the region of £12m for Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa from Saudi Arabian club, Al Nasr.
The Foxes brought in Musa for £16.6m in 2016 from CSKA Moscow , but the Nigerian forward has failed to make an impact in his time With the Foxes.
The 25-year-old has scored two goals in 21 Premier League appearances, and he spent the second half of the last campaign on loan at CSKA Moscow.
An impressive World Cup campaign for the Super Eagles has successfully led to interest in Musa’s signature but according to Sky Sports News , Leicester are not prepared to sell the attacker at cheap price.
The report claims that Al Nasr have offered £12m for the player, but the East Midlands outfit have informed the Saudi Arabian side that they wish to receive close to what they paid for Musa two years ago.
Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor): It was a baptism of fire for Turkish Super Lig side, Trabzonspor as they were hammered 4-1 in a club friendly against Spartak Moscow. The match was Onazi Ogenyi’s first official game since he returned from the 2018 World Cup.
Played at Stadion Villach-Lind in Austria, it was the Turkish team that took the lead, in the opening 10 minutes.
The midfielder, who did not play a game in Russia, strolled into Trabzonspor’s match day squad and lasted 90 minutes.
Isaac Success (Watford): Super Eagles fringe player, Success scored and was substituted in the 89th min of his team’s 3-1 defeat of Fortuna Dusseldorf.
The 22-year-old who has spent so much time working on his fitness tapped home easily at the far post after superb work by Andre Gray down the right flank.
Success was withdrawn after 45 minutes as Head coach Javi Gracia played two completely different teams in each half for the second game running.
Kevin Akpoguma (Hoffenheim): The defender scored in the 53rd min of his team’s 3-0 defeat of Queens Park Rangers.
Fejiri Okenabirhie (Shrewsbury Town): New signing, Okenabirhie was yet again on the score-sheet for The Blues in a 3-2 loss to Brentford. The former Arsenal youth teamer made the most of a lofted pass into the area to smash home his chance in the top left corner of the goal, bringing the score to 1-1 after they had initially fell behind.
Ifeanyi Ofoegbu (Chesterfield): The 18-year old right-back got among the goals for his club in their 5-0 rout of Nuneaton. The defender who was picked out in the box by teammate, Joe Rowley with 15 minutes left finished with aplomb, rattling into the roof of the net to make it 4-0.
Joshua Maja (Sunderland): He netted a brace in his club’s 6-0 rout of Scottish opponents, St Mirren at Paisley. The teenager opened the scoring after 22 mins, sending a well-cushioned finish in before leaving Mirren goalkeeper, Craig Samson rooted to the spot when he arrowed in a 22-yard effort for his second.
Samuel Kalu, Anderson Esiti and Moses Simon (KAA Gent): Kalu has staged a comeback after a muscle injury as his team defeated hosts OH Leuven 2-0 in a pre-season friendly, but his teammate, Simon is still missing in action for the Belgian club. Kalu played for 72 minutes with his coach saying the winger wanted to play on. Compatriot, Esiti started the game, but was also replaced in the second half.
Mandela Egbo and Keanan Bennets (Borussia Monchengladbach): The young lads have been promoted from the junior to the senior team ahead of the coming season and they have been taken part in the club’s pre-season friendlies. Egbo is a 20-year-old right-back while 19-year-old Bennets playe as a midfielder.
Igboun signs new Ufa deal
Former Super Eagles forward, Sylvester Igboun has signed a new contract at Russian Premier League side FC Ufa.
The 27-year-old has extended his contract by two years as confirmed by the club through their website.
A statement on the club’s website read as follows: “Football Club Ufa and Nigerian striker Sylvester Igboun has extended his contract. The term of the new agreement is for 2 years.”
“Igboun has been playing for Ufa since 2015 and during that time he has played 78 matches and scored 14 goals.” the statement added.
Igboun joined the club from Danish outfit FC Midtjylland in 2015 having scored 41 goals in 147 games over a five-year period at the Super League team.
He has six caps for the Super Eagles of Nigeria since he made his debut in a 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Tanzania on September 5.
He was a 69th minute replacement for Moses Simon in the aforementioned game.
Alhassan seals Nacional move
Former Flying Eagles forward, Alhassan Muazzam’ Ibrahim has completed a move to Portuguese club CD Nacional on a four-year contract.
Muazzam was set to join local rivals SC Maritimo but transfer negotiations broke down allowing Nacional, who are back in the Portuguese top flight, to snap him up.
Nacional President was specially in Abuja to discuss a deal with the player’s club FC Hearts, according to the report.
The player resumed full training at weekend with the club.
Last season, Muazzam played on loan at Austria Wien from Akwa United FC of Nigeria.
Nwakali wants Arsenal return after Porto move
Former U-20 captain, Kelechi Nwakali is hoping to return to Arsenal at the end of his loan move with Portuguese club Porto, who signed the midfielder for the entirety of the 2018-2019 campaign.
Porto have claimed that a purchase clause was inserted into the deal taking Nwakali to the club but the player’s priority is to play for Arsenal next year and that can’t be ruled out as he is expected to make his international debut for the Super Eagles in the coming months.
”If Porto thought I had nothing to add, they wouldn’t have brought me to come to Portugal. So, I hope to get the chance and I believe I can do it; all I need is the chance,” Nwakali said.
”Coach Amuneke once taught me that every chance you get, you should learn. So, that is it for me here at FC Porto. I came here to add to my knowledge.
”It is a good move for me. It’s the kind of improvement for me to keep developing and that will be until I get my work permit and have a chance to play in England.
”I’m a young footballer still growing and I hope to learn from players at the club.”
Nwakali, who was named best player of the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile, previously enjoyed loan spells at MVV and VVV Venlo in the Netherlands.
Onyekuru dedicates 1st goal to fans
Henry Onyekuru has dedicated his first goal for Galatasaray to the club’s fans who have shown him love from his first day at the Turkish champions.
Onyekuru, who is on a season-long loan deal at Galatasaray from Everton, scored in his club’s 2-1 loss to Valencia on Saturday in a pre-season friendly.
“I am excited to score for my new club. The goal is for the fans who showed me love since I arrived at ‘Gala’. They have been supportive and they let me know that I am at home.”
Onyekuru was introduced to the game in the 61st minute and scored in the 69th minute.
Alimi set for pro contract at Gala
18-year-old striker, Sunday Alimi who was scouted and signed by Galatasaray Academy in 2017 is expected to be given a professional contract. The youngster was a member of the Nigeria squad that won the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2015.
Osimhen poised for Waregem move
Former schoolboy international, Victor Osimhen is to try out at Belgian club, Zulte Waregem with a view to go on loan from Wolfsburg after which he could be sold on a permanent basis.
He is expected in Belgium this week for the trials, according to HLN.
Osimhen joined Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg in 2017 after he finished as record goal scorer at the 2015 U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile for a transfer fee in excess of -€4 million.
However, the 19-year-old striker has battled with injuries and lack of playing time at the German club. At Zulte-Waregem, he will be a cover for Hamdi Harbaoui.
Osimhen is expected to spend one week at the club according to reports gathered and a decision is expected to be made on or after the specified period.
Paul Onuachu, Ayo Simon Okosun and Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland): Onuachu lasted the duration and scored the consolation goal for his team in the 1-2 loss at AaB while the duo of Onyeka and Okosun were unused substitute. The leggy forward’s goal came in the 45th min even as he was cautioned in the 68th min.
Emmanuel Oti Essigba (Esbjerg fB) & Seyi Adekoya (Vendsyssel FF): Essigba was substituted after 75 mins of his team’s 2-3 loss at home to Vendsyssel for whom Adekoya was introduced in the 61st min.
Olayinka joins Slavia Prague
Leggy forward, Peter Olayinka has joined Slavia Prague on a four- year deal from Belgian club, Gent.
Slavia Prague announced Olayinka’s arrival on their official website on Saturday with Gent pocketing €3.2m from the deal.
“I am very happy, when I learned about going to Slavia and returning to Prague, I was happy and it attracts me because Slavia is the biggest club in Czech football, “Olayinka told the club’s official website after penning the contract.
“When I was in Dukla, Slavia became the champion of the league. I can imagine that Slavia will once again be a champion and I want to be part of the team.
“It’s a great chance for me. Slavia is a club where I can become a champion.”
Olayinka linked up with Gent from Albanian side, Skendebeu Korce for €1.1m in 2016 but didn’t play in an official game for the club.
The striker was first sent out on loan to Czech side, Dukla Prague where he scored six goals in 29 appearances. He spent last season on loan at Belgian club, Zulte Waregem and scored seven goals in 20 games.
NPFL hotshot, Lokosa, for SK Brann medical
Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), top scorer, Junior Lokosa is at Norwegian club, SK Brann for medical, with a view to finalising a transfer.
The Kano Pillars striker who has 19 goals already was released last week for the trip in a letter dated July 15, 2018 and signed by Pillars Chairman, Tukur Babangida.
Lokosa will be away from July 22 to 30, 2018.
A proposed move by the player to Bulgarian club, PFC Ludogorets fell through recently.
Seyi Olofinjana, Chukwuma Akabueze and Kim Ojo are other Nigerians to have represented the Norwegian club.
…ex-Man Utd trainee, Kehinde, rejects club
Highly-rated midfielder, Tosin Kehinde has rejected a summer transfer to Norwegian Eliteserien club SK Brann.
Kehinde’s possible destination has been pruned to two from the plethora of teams he was earlier linked to in England, France, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Netherlands and Spain.
The 20-year-old is said to be in advanced talks with Scottish outfit Rangers and Austria Vienna and a decision will be made in the coming days.
This month, Rangers completed the transfer of Nigeria U23 star Sadiq Umar on a season-long loan from AS Roma and are hopeful of signing Kehinde.
Manchester United had offered the Nigeria Football Federation target a fresh two-year contract before he decided to move on to pastures new after seven years at Old Trafford.
Brondby keen on Flying Eagles star, Nazifi
Nazifi Yahaya (Kano Pillars): The former U-20 player is expected to return to Europe for further trials after impressing during a two weeks trial in Denmark with Brondby. Nazifi is however not expected to sign a professional contract until he turns 18, next year.
Michael Olaha (Sông Lam Ngh): He scored in the first goal in the 14th min of his team’s 3-1 defeat of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai.
Chinedu Udoka (Becamex Bình Duong): The player spotting No 21 jersey was on song in the 51st and 62nd min of his club’s 4-1 defeat of SHB Ðà Nong.
Ganiyu Oseni (Ha Noi): The former schoolboy international lasted the duration of his team’s 3-2 win at Thanh Hoa.
Flying Eagles keeper, Ogundare, agrees Shkupi switch
Flying Eagles goalkeeper, Detan Ogundare has agreed a three-year contract with Macedonian club FK Shkupi.
The tall and agile Kogi United shot stopper will join the club in December, when he turns 18.
Ogundare is the Flying Eagles’ current No 1 after he was in goal for the team’s last three qualifiers ahead of Israel-based Akpan Udoh. He also kept goal during the team’s recent playing tour of Egypt.
Shkupi are based in the city of Cair and will play in the UEFA Europa League after they finished fourth this past season.
Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai): The former Watford forward scored his second goal in two matches in the second stanza of the league. His latest goal came in the 2-1 loss to Shandong Luneng at the weekend. Ighalo who captained his team scored from close range on 24 minutes. Three minutes before half-time, he found himself in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper but found his effort cleared off the line.
Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda): He made a return to the starting line-up against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan after serving a mandatory one-match suspension and Mikel played as a right midfielder in his side’s 2-1 loss.
Koko Atanda deported at Delhi airport
Koko Sakibo Atanda, was allegedly deported from Delhi airport last Wednesday without any specific reason despite having employment visa (E2).
The player was billed to join Patna League division after his arrival in Patna via Delhi. The Nigerian had been playing for Indian clubs for the last nine years.
“On Tuesday, I boarded a flight for Delhi from Nigeria. At the immigration desk, they told me that I couldn’t enter India. When I asked the reason, they said I should go back to Lagos and ask the immigration authority in Nigeria,” Koko disclosed.
Speaking further he said on getting to Nigeria, the immigration officers verified his documents and told him they were fine.
Meanwhile, the Assistant General Secretary of Raj Milk FC, Vikash Kumar has said his team was interested in signing Koko and he was supposed to play Super League in Patna.
“He has a valid E2 visa and he came to Mumbai on July 6. He however lost his visa stay (visa extension certificate) in India and was deported.
“Later, I found his visa stay certificate and sent it back to him along with air tickets for his journey but he was again deported from IGI,” Kumar stated adding that the development is a financial and strategic loss for the club.
“I even raised this issue with the Indian embassy in Nigeria and also tweeted the matter to the ministry of external affairs.”
Among the clubs Koko has played for in the Asian country are; Vasco, Dempo Sports Club and Churchill Brothers FC.
Obiozor tries luck at Raja
Former CHAN Eagles forward, Christian Obiozor, is on trial at Raja Casablanca according to our sources.
The player is currently suspended by Enyimba for violating the club’s code of conduct, after a transfer to South African club, Orlando Pirates fell through last year.