…England U-20 World Cup winner, Ojo open to representing Nigeria
Following reports that Everton youngster, Ademola Lookman is likely to join the Super Eagles ranks soon, another England youth international, Sheyi Ojo at the weekend made known his intention to switch allegiance to Nigeria in the future.
Meanwhile, Victor Moses’ poor fortune continued as he played no part when his team was held to a goalless draw by West Ham United. The winger, who announced his retirement from the senior national team few months ago, may need to reconsider his future at Chelsea in January.
Elsewhere, history was made by Moses Simon as he became the 18th youngest Nigerian to debut in La Liga capping it with a goal against Sevilla.
In another extensive package, the News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN reports the performances of Nigerian players abroad.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) & Phillip Billing (Huddersfield): Iheanacho opened his Premier League account for the season in the 19th minute and also provided an assist before he was replaced in the 77th min of his team’s 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town. Ndidi lasted the duration of the match while Billing was also in action for the visitors.
Isaac Success (Watford): The former schoolboy international made his appearance as a substitute in the 80th min when his team surrendered a one-goal lead in the 78th minute to draw 1-1 with Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Leon Balogun (Brighton) & Luke Amos (Tottenham): He was an unused substitute when his club suffered a 1-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur for whom Amos was not listed.
Victor Moses (Chelsea): He was a non-plying substitute when his club was held to a goalless draw by West Ham Utd.
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal): He was among the substitutes when his team secured a 2-0 win over Everton.
Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City): He put in an inspiring performance as his team lost 2-3 at home to Blackburn Rovers. The diminutive midfielder contributed 3 passes, covered the whole pitch, won 11 out of 16 duels with 77% pass accuracy.
Ebere Eze (Queens Park Rangers): He played as a winger for 90 mins in his side’s 1-0 loss to Norwich and made two key passes, won 8 of 14 duels with 76% pass accuracy.
Semi Ajayi (Rotherham Utd): He lasted the duration of his team’s 1-0 loss away at Nottingham Forest. It was his eighth game of the season.
Efe Ambrose (Hibernian): The Super Eagles outcast lasted 90 mins as his team crashed 0-3 at Dundee FC.
Sadiq Umar and Ovie Ejaria (Celtic): The duo were not listed as their club suffered a 1-2 reverse against Kilmarnock.
Moses Simon (Levante): After being introduced with 17mins left to play, Simon scored in the 90th min of his debut as his club suffered a 2-6 loss at home to Sevilla.
Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes): He was left out of his team’s match day squad as they suffered a 0-1 defeat against Eibar. The 24-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the club since he joined on a season loan deal from Chelsea.
Chukwueze must work harder, says Villareal coach
Villarreal youngster, Samuel Chukwueze has received a strong charge from the club’s head coach to work harder, as the gaffer says making waves in just one Europa League match is not enough to celebrate.
Rather than heap praises on Chukwueze for his exploits against Glasgow Rangers in the second-tier continental clash on Thursday, The Yellow Submarine handler, Javi Calleja charged the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup gold medalist to keep working his socks off.
The coach, though, described Chukwueze as a talented player, who can break into the first team if he continues working hard.
Considering how the youngster has grown well through all ranks of the former club of Ikechukwu Uche, Calleja hinted that he had no qualms in naming the lad to the squad for Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Rangers, then handed him his debut off the bench in the 79th minute.
“We’re using nearly all of our players and I think that’s a good thing. We need the whole squad. For example, Samuel Chukwueze made his debut, who is a player with a great future, but he has to carry on working hard,” Calleja submitted.
Simon becomes 18th youngest Nigerian to debut in La Liga
Super Eagles winger, Moses Simon had a promising debut for Spanish La Liga side Levante in their 6-2 defeat to Sevilla on Sunday after his shot resulted in an own goal for coach Paco Lopez’ team.
Simon who has never played for Levante after joining from Belgian side Gent since copping a hamstring injury was a second half substitute in place of Spanish midfielder Campana in the 73rd minute.
His effort came on the dot of 90 minutes after he controlled the ball brilliantly with his chest before swivelling to hit a shot with his left foot that deflected off Danish defender Simon Kjaer.
He played a total of 2, 433 minutes of league football in his last season in Belgium before the move to Levante.
Simon has now overtaken ex-Real Madrid youth-teamer Christopher Ohenhen as the 18th youngest Nigerian player to debut in the Spanish topflight, aged 23 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Francis Uzoho (Elche): He was an unused substitute when his club drew 1-1 with Real Oviedo.
Ramon Azeez (Ludo): The former schoolboy international was introduced in the 78th min of his team’s 2-0 win at Real Zaragoza.
Apeh making headlines at Celta Vigo
Emmanuel Apeh is not so much a known name in Nigeria, but in Spain’s lower division with the Celta Vigo II, the striker is carving a niche for himself and perhaps will soon catch the eyes of big boys – if he keeps his impressive goal scoring form.
In four league appearances for Os Celestes, he has found the back of the net three times, proving to be a match-winner.
The youngster who sadly missed out on the opportunity to represent Nigeria back in 2013 as a 17-year-old is finally settling down to life as a professional after several years a journey man.
England U-20 World Cup winner, Ojo open to representing Nigeria
England Under-20 World Cup winner, Sheyi Ojo has said he would consider playing for Nigeria at senior international level.
The 21-year-old, who is on loan at French club Reims from Liverpool, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles because his parents are Nigerians.
Under FIFA rules, he can switch allegiances because he is yet to play for the senior side.
It’s starting to get to the time where I have to start thinking about my future. And of course, if Nigeria were to call me now it would be an honour.
And, despite 43 England caps from under-16 to under-21 level, Ojo is keen to fly with the Eagles.
“To be honest, I don’t know much about it (Nigeria interest), but if they call me I’d be honoured to go to Nigeria,” Ojo told BBC Sport.
“It’s obviously a massive nation. I’m just really focused on club football at the moment, but I’m excited for the future, both club and country.
“My parents are originally from Nigeria as well, so they know a lot about it. They’ve always been keen on the idea [to represent Nigeria] but so far I’ve mainly been focusing on club football.
“It’s starting to get to the time where I have to start thinking about my future. And of course, if Nigeria were to call me now it would be an honour.”
Ojo played five matches including the 1-0 win over Venezuela in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup final to help England to their biggest international title since 1966.
Nigeria has previously succeeded in snapping up former England youth internationals like Sone Aluko, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi, Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina for the Super Eagles.
The three-time African champions are also close to persuading Everton striker Ademola Lookman to play for them rather than England.
Echiejile set for France stay after Monaco exit
Super Eagles left-back, Elderson Echiejile looks set to stay put in France after he was recently released by AS Monaco.
“He is most likely to remain in France. He has had several offers and he is studying them and very soon his destination will be public,” a source close to the experienced defender reliably disclosed.
Incidentally, Echiejile started his career in Europe at French Ligue 1 club Stade Rennes before he moved on to Sporting Braga of Portugal, where he enjoyed his longest spell with a single club.
His previous other clubs include Sivasspor (Turkey), Sporting Gijon (Spain), Standard Liege and Cercle Brugge (Belgium).
William Troost Ekong (Udinese): He lasted the entirety of his team’s 2-0 win at Chievo.
Ola Aina and Joel Obi (Torino): Aina was substituted after 77 mins of his team’s 1-3 loss to Napoli while Obi was not listed.
Simmy Nwankwo (Crotone): He saw action for 65mins as his club lost 1-2 to Hellas Verona.
Anthony Ujah (Mainz 05): He was introduced in the 76th min of his team’s 0-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Jamilu Collins (Padderborn): He played for 90 mins of is club’s 4-4 draw with FC Magdeburg.
Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto): He was not considered when his team won 2-0 away at Victoria Setubal.
Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto B): The youngster was not listed when his club drew 1-1 with US Oliveirense.
Ogenyi Onazi and Anthony Nwaekeme (Trabzonspor): Onazi lasted 80 mins while Nwaekeme was introduced in the 74th min of their club’s 1-2 defeat to Goztepe.
Onazi’s consistency wins praise of coach
Ogenyi Onazi has emerged the most consistent player at Turkish club Trabzonspor recently and the player disclosed that he has been lifted by the praise he has won from Coach Unal Karaman.
Karaman showered praises on Onazi for his consistency in the heart of the team’s midfield in the last five games.
Onazi, who was superb in the last game against Alanyaspor which they lost 1-0 to the hosts, was named Man of the Match and the coach was most impressed with his display again.
“I am happy with my performances and the team work at the moment. It has been great.
“I am happy with the coach’s praise for me and the team, his words will only bring our best in me as a player and the team as a whole. I will keep working hard,” the player was quoted to have said.
Chinedu Obasi (Elfsborg): The former U-23 forward scored for the second game on the spin in the 23rd min as his team secured a 1-0 win against Orebro. Obasi’s first-half winner gave Elfsborg their first win in the Allsvenskan since July 8, 2018.
Stephen Odey (FC Zuerich): The former MFM forward scored the solitary goal and match winner against FC Luzern.
Brian Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow): He was booked in the 73rd min and lasted the duration of his team’s 3-5 defeat against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Sylvester Igboun (FC Ufa): He was booked in the 19th min and was substituted in the 90th min of his club’s goalless draw with FC Rostov.
Danjuma scores again in Belgium
Super Eagles hopeful, Arnaut Danjuma scored another goal at the weekend for his Belgian side, Club Brugge in their 4-0 rout of Gent.
Danjuma who scored the curtain raiser in the 33rd minute was substituted in the 71st minute of a match that involved three other Nigerians in; Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge), Taiwo Awoniyi and Anderson Esiti (Gent). Former Golden Eaglets forward, Awoniyi was introduced in the 68th min while Esiti was an unused substitute.
Bonaventure rose from the substitutes’ bench to replace his Nigerian compatriot, Danjuma with 19 minutes left to play.
Osimhen scores first professional goal
Former Golden Eaglets forward, Victor Osimhen has finally scored his first goal since he turned professional two years ago with his first goal for his loan side Charleroi in their 1-1 draw against Waasland-Beveren.
The forward joined the Belgium side on loan from German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg where he failed to find the back of the net in one and half season at the club, hence deemed surplus to requirements.
It has taken him just three games to open his goal account for his new side as he opened scoring for them against Waasland-Beveren in the 19th minute. A lead which they fail to hang on to two minutes after they were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Marco llaimaharitra in the 49th minute.
Osimhen played from his favourite central striker role and he almost grabbed his brace but his well-placed header in the 76th minute was cleared off the line with the goalkeeper beaten.
Agada celebrates 3rd goal of the season
William Agada has expressed his happiness with his strike against Hapoel Kfar Saba, but lamented that Hapoel Katamon failed to pick at least a point in the Israeli Liga Leumit game.
Agada scored what turned out to be the consolation for his team at the Teddi Malcha Stadium.
His goal arrived in the 89th minute of entertaining action.
“I’m happy for the goal but I am a little disappointed, we wanted to pick at least a point after going two goals down.
“You will soon see the new Katamon, we are focused. We will improve if we can work with intensity,” the striker added.
The 19-year-old lad was handed his fifth start of the season on Friday by coach Lior Zada.
Marvin Egho (Randers FC): He was substituted in the 66th min when his club won 2-0 at home to Vendsyssel FF for whom Seyi Adekoya was introduced in the 72nd min.
Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjylland): He fired blank and was substituted in the 78th min of his team’s goalless draw with SonderjyskE.
Sam Adekugbe and Chidera Ejuke (Vaalerenga): Ejuke scored in the 48th min and lasted 90 mins while Adekugbe was also in action as their club suffered a 2-3 loss at Odds Ballklubb.
Stephen Eze (Locomotiv Plovdiv): The centre half lasted the duration of his team’s 3-1 win over FK Septemvri Sofia.
Musa Muhammed and Godfrey Oboabona (HNK Gorica): Muhammed lasted the duration of the match and was cautioned in the 47th min while his teammate, Oboabona was not listed when their team won 1-0 at NK Osijek.
Rabiu Ibrahim (Slovan Bratislava): He was not considered when his club won 2-1 against SKF Sered.
Emeka Eze (Sturm Graz): He played the last 20mins of his club’s 1-2 loss to Matteburg.
Nnamdi Oduamadi (Tirana): The former AC Milan winger made his third start as his team held Skenderbeu to a 1-1 draw.
Odah eyes Eagles No 1 jersey
Former Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Okiemute Odah is hoping to add competition for gloves in the Nigerian senior national team, the Super Eagles, following his one-year loan move from Nigeria’s representatives in next season’s CAF Champions League side, Lobi Stars to Saudi Arabia’s Division 1 side, Jeddah FC.
Odah, a member of the Nigerian U-17 side that campaigned at the 2005 CAF U-17 African Youth Championship in Gambia said, “We have played four games so far this season and I have kept one clean sheet,” gushed the six-foot custodian.
“We are in 4th position in the table, but we want to improve on that. We have a game coming up on Wednesday against Najran and a win, and possibly another clean sheet are the objectives,” Odah stressed.
Speaking about his chances of breaking into the Super Eagles, Odah who idolises Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon stated:
“If I get invitation from the super Eagles, glory be to God but if I do not get it soon, I will continue to work, maybe my chance will come. I am not really worried about that at the moment,” Odah reiterated.
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin Teda): The Super Eagles captain was not listed when his team drew 2-2 against Beijing Reinhe.
Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai): He lasted the duration of his club’s 1-3 defeat against Shanghai SIPG.
Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa Utd): He was in goal for 90 mins when his team drew 0-0 with Golden Arrows.
Al-Nasr confirms Egwuekwe, Joseph signing
Libyan side, Al-Nasr has signed the duo of Azubuike Egwuekwe and former Lobi stars midfielder, Nathaniel Joseph on a two- year deal.
Egwueke, who played in Finland and South Africa and Joseph were unveiled at the weekend by their new employer.
Joseph, who last played for Lobi Stars had represented the B team of the Super Eagles.
Egwuekwe was a former KuPS player scoring five goals in 32 games. He also debut for the Super Eagles in 2012 and played in several 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He made the Super Eagles squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup.
The duo were signed as part of Al-Nasr campaign preparations for the CAF Champions League in which the club are currently at the number one spot in the Libyan Premier League with 11 points. This is not the first time Nigeria’s has been having exploits in Libya league way back in the 90s the likes of Badwin Bazuaye.
Bulbwa pens Mouloudia Oujda deal
Former Flying Eagles attacker, Bernard Bulbwa has signed for Botola Pro side, Mouloudia Club Oujda in an undisclosed deal.
Bulbwa becomes the third Nigerian player to join the Moroccan club this summer, following Orji Okagbue and Emeka Ogbugh.
Bulbwa also arrives in Morocco after earlier deals for Michael Babatunde, Ikechukwu Gabriel and a host of others, as footballlive.ng learnt he sealed a deal that was completed before the close of the Moroccan summer transfer window on September 19.
The 21-year-old product of Ikorodu, Lagos-based Emmanuel Amuneke Football Academy scored the winning goal for the Flying Eagles in the 2015 Africa U20 Cup of Nations final against Senegal.
The winger-cum-striker, who moves to Oujda from Esperance of Tunisia, where he spent three years, had previously been linked with the England duo of Manchester City and Stoke City.