The search for U-17 2015 World Cup winner, Victor Osimhen continues after he failed to impress and was not offered a contract at Belgian club, Zulte-Waregem. The 19-year-old was said not to have convinced officials of the club in order to secure a loan move to Belgium from German club, VFL Wolfsburg.
Elsewhere, there was goals aplenty for Nigerian players in pre-season friendlies and Scandinavian leagues with Sheyi Ojo, Frank Onyeka, Moses Ogbu and Stephen Odey scoring for Liverpool, FC Midtjyland, Sirius and FC Zurich in that order.
Galatasaray loan signing, Henry Onyekuru will be hoping to make the roaster for the Super Eagles ahead of the 2019 African Nations Cup, after scoring yet another goal for his new employers.
The News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN compiles yet another report on the performances of Nigerian players abroad.
Ojo scores in Liverpool’s rout of Man Utd: Liverpool winger, Sheyi Ojo was amongst the goal scorers when his team defeated Manchester United 4-1in an International Champions Cup tie held at Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Michigan) on Saturday.
The England U-21 international replaced Sadio Mane at half-time, while Dominic Solanke who was named in the starting XI was substituted in the 65th minute.
Both teams were level at the break, with Andreas Pereira’s 31st minute effort cancelling out Mane’s goal from the spot on 28 minutes.
Ojo converted a penalty kick in the 74th minute to make it 3-1 after referee Elfath pointed to the spot for Ander Herrera fouling Andy Robertson in the box, before Xherdan Shaqiri scored with a sensational overhead kick with eight minutes remaining.
Of the seven matches played by Liverpool so far during their pre-season preparations, Ojo has figured in six, against Chester, Borussia Dortmund, Blackburn Rovers, Bury, Tranmere Rovers and United
Onyekuru on target again: Everton loanee, Henry Onyekuru scored the only goal of the game in Galatasaray’s 1-0 win over Club Africain in a pre-season friendly, Saturday evening.
The 21-year-old twice went close to breaking the deadlock following his introduction in the 50th minute, his header narrowly missed target in the 61st minute and a last ditch tackle prevented him from finding the net on 82 minutes.
In the third minute of stoppage time, the former Anderlecht star was the quickest to react and scored from the rebound after goalkeeper Atef Dkhili parried a shot from Galatasaray’s Yunus Akgün.
Last weekend, Onyekuru opened his goalscoring account for the Turkish Super Lig side as they were beaten 2-1 by Valencia.
With his injury problems behind him, he has a chance of being picked for the national team’s next international game.
Chelsea drops hint Tomori’ll be loaned out again
It is looking likely that Fikayo Tomori will be loaned out by Chelsea before the close of the summer transfer window.
The England U-21 international, who is being monitored by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), was left out of the Blues squad that flew to Nice Friday evening, which more or less confirms that he’s not in the plans of Maurizio Sarri, bearing it in mind he was one of the first players to report at Cobham for pre-season.
Despite traveling to Australia for the friendly against Perth Glory, Tomori must have noticed the handwriting on the wall that he won’t be given a chance under Sarri, with the Italian manager failing to utilize him off the bench.
The central defender has been at Chelsea since the age of eight, and progressed through the age groups before making his first-team debut against Leicester City on the final day of the 2015-2016 season.
Chelsea confirmed via their official website that Ola Aina and Kenneth Omeruo were not in the traveling party to Nice, which puts them in the same boat as Tomori, but Victor Moses and Tammy Abraham were among the 23-man group.
Ezekwem joins Freiburg from Bayern
Promising defender, Kimberly Ezekwem has ended his association with German champions Bayern Munich after penning a deal with SC Freiburg.
The left back, who models his game on Austria star of Nigerian descent, David Alaba, will remain on the books of SC Freiburg until at least the end of the 2019-2020 season, having put pen to paper on a two-year contract.
Several clubs were interested in Ezekwem before Freiburg won the race for his signature and he has been added to their U-19 roster.
The 17-year-old is not yet in tiptop condition as he recently recovered from a knee injury but is hoping to show off all his skills to his new employer when the new season begins on August 11.
Ahead of their first game against Unterhaching U-19, Ezekwem has been training with SC Freiburg for the past three weeks.
He featured for the youth teams of SE Freising and 1860 Munich prior to his move to Bayern Munich.
Gong happy with Europa League debut
Vitesse youngster, Hilary Gong has said he is happy to make his debut for the club in the first leg of their Europa League Second Qualifying round.
The striker played the final 22 minutes of the club’s 2-2 draw with 10-man FC Viitorul Constanta on Thursday afternoon, coming on to replace Thomas Bruns.
Despite not scoring, the forward indicated he is working hard on getting more play time but was happy with his debut game.
“I felt extremely happy that I got the opportunity to play for my new team,” the young striker told Footballlive.ng.
“Even making the list for the match made me so glad and getting the chance to play even made it sweeter for me.
“I played for 22 minutes but it felt so good and cool. I want to work extremely hard to be considered for selection again and I will be very happy to get another chance again.”
“I am very grateful to the technical team, particularly coach Leonid Slutsky, for the chance he gave me on Thursday. I promise to work harder and make all of them proud.”
The Nigerian left his homeland for Slovakian side AS Trencin in 2017 and made 38 appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals.
Abduljeleel Ajagun (KV Kortjik): The former Flying Eagles skipper was introduced in the 67th min when his team lost 1-4 to RSC Anderlecht.
Awoniyi’s debut match jinx continues: KAA Gent of Belgium summer loan signing, Taiwo Awoniyi has faced another occurrence of an uncanny that sees him lose almost every debut match he plays after signing for a new club.
In his young professional career, the UAE 2013 U-17 World Cup revelation has lost three out of four club debuts, with the latest coming in his competitive debut for Gent in their 3-2 loss to Standard Liege, Friday evening.
The youthful striker, who is on loan from Liverpool pulled on a Gent jersey with jersey No.14 when he was introduced in the 69th minute as replacement for Yuya Kubo.
Osimhen fails Waregem trials: VfL Wolfsburg of Germany striker, Victor Osimhen has failed to hook a summer deal at Zulte-Waregem of Belgium, following his inability to convince the club’s technical staff of his abilities during a period of trials with the team.
Osimhen had been desirous of finally shedding off the underachieving status he has been forced to bear at Wolfsburg, but he will now have to return to The Wolves and fancy his chances in the new season, after failing trials in Waregem.
Details of the report out of Belgium indicate that Osimhen, who has also been riddled with a spate of injuries during his days at Wolfsburg, could not do enough to convince the Belgian club to have him on loan.
The 19-year-old striker, eternal top scorer in the history in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and gold medalist at Chile 2015 with Nigeria, was put on trial by Zulte-Waregem in order to ascertain his technical and fitness levels, but the club have opted out of a possible deal.
Odey scores in derby win: Stephen Odey opened his goal account for Swiss club, FC Zurich who beat Grasshopper 2-0 in the Zurich derby at the Letzigrund Stadiu on Saturday.
Odey, 20, who was handed his first start of the season scored FC Zurich’s second goal of the game in the 62nd minute.
The former MFM forward spent the entire 90 minutes on the pitch. Adrian Winter netted the opener for FC Zurich in the 47th minute.
Odey hit the back twice in 13 games for his club last season following his move MFM.
FC Zurich sit at the top of the Swiss league with six points having won their opening two games of the season.
Eleke pens 4-yr Luzern deal: Swiss club, FC Luzern, has announced the signing of Blessing Eleke, on a four-year deal from Isreali side FC Ashdod.
Eleke, 22, scored four goals in 27 league appearances for Ashdod last season.
The striker previously featured for Slovenian club, NK Olimpija where he bagged 25 goals in 80 games in his three seasons at the club.
“With Blessing we were able to sign up an offensive player with a lot of potential, ” FC Luzern sporting director, Remo Mayer told the club’s official website.
“Although still very young, he has prevailed at all clubs in Europe from the start and convinced.”
Luzern currently occupy last position in the Swiss Premier League table after losing their opening day clash at home against Neuchatel Xamax 2-0 last weekend.
Alhaji Gero (Oestersunds FK): He was cautioned in the 75th min and substituted in the 82nd min of his team’s 1-0 defeat of Elfsborg.
Moses Ogbu (Sirius): He scored in the 31st min to give his team a 2-0 lead and was substituted 36 mins later when his club secured a 3-1 win at Dalkurd FF.
Onyeka on target in Midtjylland’s first win: Frank Onyeka scored his first goal of the season for FC Midtjylland who secured a 3-1 win over Esbjerg FB in the Danish Superliga match at the MCH Arena.
The 20-year-old, who was making his first appearance of the season sealed the win for the Danish Champions in additional time of the encounter.
Gustav Wikheim gave FC Midtjylland the lead in the 15th minute and Jakob Poulsen made 2-0 from the penalty spot. Lasha Parunashvili reduced the deficit for Esbjerg FB in the 45th minute before Onyeka secured FC Midtjylland’s first win of the season tapping in a fine work from another Nigerian player in the team Ayo Okosun in additional time.
Paul Onuachu was also handed a starting berth in the game but he was replaced at half time. It was his third start this season and he has scored one goal.
FC Midtjylland now has four points after three matches.
Nitra striker, Abdulrahman sets target
FC Nitra new frontman, Taiwo Abdulrahman has set himself a personal target of at least 20 goals in the 2018/19 Slovakian Fortuna Liga in a bid to help the Trogári finish in the top half of the table.
It is a bold statement from the former Kwara United striker, as very few marksmen traditionally reach that mark in the top tier of Slovakian football.
But Abdulrahman has been impressed by his new club and sees no reason why he can’t get among the goals in the weeks and months to come.
“I am not sure how many goals I will target, but I would like at least 20 this season. That would be a decent amount,” he told Footballlive.ng.
“That would be a decent amount.”
The 19-year-old impressed in pre-season games. One reason for the striker’s confidence is his belief that the Trogári’s style under coach Ivan Galád will bring out the best in him.
“We want to keep the ball as much as possible and move it around quickly and create lots of chances. All in all, it suits me down to the ground.”
Still, Abdulrahman acknowledges that it may be a little more difficult to find the net in Slovakia.
“Here players are a lot quicker. This league is definitely a better standard.”
Nitra placed a distant seventh in the 12-team Fortuna Liga last term.
Emeka Eze (Sturm Graz): He was introduced in the 69th min of his club’s 3-2 win against TSV Hartberg.
Why Brann pulled out of Lokosa deal: Fresh facts are now emerging that Norwegian club SK Brann may have pulled the plug on a proposed move for domestic league top scorer, Junior Lokosa because it was revealed that the Kano Pillars striker has a prior commitment with another club in Switzerland.
Lokosa, 24, impressed in his first training with the Norwegian League leaders only for them to call off the transfer, two days later.
A top source disclosed that, “It appears that the player may have committed himself to a club in Switzerland till September and as such Brann decided to pull out of a deal with Lokosa to avoid any embarrassment.
“Before then, negotiations were going well and a price was even being discussed.”
It was further gathered that Pillars permitted the striker to fly out to Norway after they were told by his handlers he will only be undergoing a medical before signing a deal.
However, Lokosa trained with Brann before he was told he will not be offered a contract.
He was also slated to play a test game at FK Haugesund on Sunday to round up his trials in Norway.
Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai): The former Watford man lasted 90 mins but failed to score as his team suffered a 0-2 loss to Tianjin Quanjin.
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin Teda): He was not listed as his club won 3-2 away at Dalian Yifang.
Zamalek offers ex-Kwara Utd player new deal: Egyptian club, Zamalek is reportedly offering former Kwara Utd midfielder, Moruf Yusuf, a new four-year contract worth.
It would be recalled that the club applied for Egyptian citizenship for Yusuf to further keep him at the club.
Yusuf, who has been with Zamalek for three years won the league title on his debut season.
Okiki to join unnamed Egyptian club: Former Sunshine Stars forward, Okiki Afolabi is close to joining an unnamed club in Egypt despite claiming he has his eyes set on a move to Europe.
The player netted 23 goals and won the goal king award in the Ethiopian top-flight in the just ended season. He also emerged as the player of the season.
The fine form of Okiki has caught the eyes of clubs in Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Afolabi’s club, Jimma Aba Jiffar, was crowned champions of the Ethiopian league on Tuesday after their 5-0 rout of Adama Ketema.
The win took them above St George on goal difference, in their maiden season in the top flight.
Meanwhile, talks between the player’s agent and the Egyptian club is said to have reached an advanced stage at the moment.
“I am ready to move on, I want a European move so that I can prove myself like what I have done in Ethiopia.
“The season was okay for me, we started very well and edged St George on goal difference to win the title,” Okiki was earlier quoted to have said.
The ex-Shooting Stars forward added: “The Ethiopian league is very tough and lots of good foreign players are there whilst all the best Ethiopia players are locally based so the level is high.”