Eagles Watch

Ex-Enyimba forward, Eduok, scores brace in Turkey


… Malmo enforcer, Bonke, in line for shock invitation

In a weekend that Nigerian players scored deluge of goals, former Enyimba and Esperance striker, Samuel Eduok proved he is a lethal finisher after scoring twice for his less fancied Turkish club, Erzurumspor to ensure they secured all three points against Sivaspor.
In Belgium, diminutive striker, Imoh Ezekiel also found the back of the net for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, one player who is about to get his first invitation to the Super Eagles is FF Malmo of Sweden enforcer, Innocent Bonke. The former U-17 trainee is said to be attracting interest from coach Gernot Rohr and may be included in Super Eagles squad soon with Ogenyi Onazi yet to fully recover from his lengthy injury.
In yet another extensive report, News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN writes on performances of Super Eagles players and hopefuls in Europe, Asia and the US.  ENGLAND FA CUP

Leon Balogun (Brighton Hove Albion): He was missing when his team secured a back-to-back FA Cup quarter-finals feat for the first time in the club’s history thanks to a 2-1 win over Derby County. Balogun has made two appearances in the competition for the Seagulls this season.

Adedeji Oshilaja (Wimbledon): The Nigerian-born defender lasted the full throttle as AFC Wimbledon was dumped out of the English FA Cup. Oshilaja who played from central defence captained his side in their 1-0 loss to Millwall at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
The League One side bowed out to their London neighbours at Kingsmeadow courtesy of a fifth-minute header from Murray Wallace.
Wimbledon stunned West Ham with a 4-2 victory in round four, but another shock appeared unlikely once Wallace turned the ball in from six yards out after a fine run and cross from Ryan Leonard.
Oshilaja started his career at Cardiff City as a 16-year-old, progressing through the academy to sign his first professional contract in April 2012.
Ugbo plays first match in 6 months for Chelsea: Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) target, Ike Ugbo was in action for Chelsea U-23s as they fell to a 2-0 loss to Swansea City in a Premier League 2 contest in Aldershot on Friday evening.
It was his first game for that age group since he went the distance against Everton on the opening day of the season on August 12, 2018.
Ugbo spent the first half of the season on loan at League One side Scunthorpe United, for whom he scored one goal in 16 appearances, and has found himself playing for The Blues U-23 team after failing to seal another loan deal before the close of the January transfer window.
He was a perfect replacement for Tammy Abraham in Chelsea U23s setup, scoring goals aplenty, but did not find things easy during his loan stints at Barnsley, Milton Keynes Dons and Scunthorpe United.
Ugbo was replaced in the 65th minute against The Swans, fit again midfielder Tariq Uwakwe played the full game while Faustino Anjorin is recovering from a back injury, so was not selected.
Uwakwe came closest to scoring for Chelsea in the second half, with a fierce strike just after the hour.
England ahead of Nigeria in race for Arsenal teen striker, Oyegoke: The English Football Association is ahead of its Nigerian counterparts in the race for the services of Arsenal youth team striker Daniel Oyegoke.
According to Youth Hawk, Oyegoke has received a call-up to the England U16 squad for international matches this week.
The 2003-born player is in line to make his international debut for the Young Lions when they face Norway at St George’s Park on Sunday, February 17, and if that doesn’t materialize, he could make his debut against either France (February 19) or Brazil (February 21).
Oyegoke is widely regarded as one of the top talents at Arsenal Academy and made his debut for their U18 team in the U18 Premier League against Chelsea as a 15-year-old in May 2018, before another appearance against Aston Villa on the opening day of this season.
Prior to his move to Arsenal in October 2017, he played for the youth team of Barnet for six years.
Goalkeepers Kelechi Chibueze (Chelsea) and Tobi Oluwayemi (Tottenham) have been left out of the England U16 squad for the three matches.
Leicester City youngster, Eppiah available for Nigeria selection: Highly-rated Leicester City youth-teamer Joseph Eppiah could be open to representing the Nigerian National Teams if approached by the Nigeria Football Federation.
The talented striker is spoilt for choice over the senior national team to represent in future as he is eligible to turn out for Belgium, England and Nigeria through his parentage.
However, the Royal Belgian Football Association has made the first move for his services, having previously invited him to their youth team.
Eppiah has all the attributes of a modern day attack-minded player as he is capable of being deployed as top striker, secondary striker and winger.
He is highly regarded within the corridors of power at the King Power Stadium and was offered a fresh two-year deal by the Foxes in September 2018.
The 20-year-old netted eight goals to win the Player of the Tournament at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament in 2017.
If all goes well, Eppiah could become the fourth player of Nigerian descent on the books of Leicester City to play for the national teams, following in the footsteps of Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Habib Makanjuola.
Iorfa nets 100th minute equaliser on Sheffield debut: It was a debut to remember for one-time Nigeria Football Federation target, Dominic Iorfa after he came off the bench to net a late, late equaliser as Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at AESSEAL New York Stadium, Saturday afternoon.
A former England U21 international, Iorfa was in the matchday 18 against Reading and Millwall but was not utilized off the bench in both games and the trend was set to continue but The Owls manager, Steve Bruce handed the Wolves loanee his debut in the 91st minute.
In the tenth minute of stoppage time, Iorfa equalised, firing home after a goalmouth melee.
Iorfa had only scored once before in the Football League prior to his maiden appearance for Sheffield Wednesday, which was against Nottingham Forest on December 2, 2017.
The 23-year-old describes himself as a quick, pacy and versatile defender who is comfortable on the ball.
Super Eagles star Semi Ajayi and Michael Ihiekwe were in action for the entirety of the game for The Millers.


Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes): The central defender was in action as his team lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad. He was handed a starting role and lasted the entire match duration. The on-loan Chelsea defender has now made 17 league appearances and earned four bookings for Leganes this term.
Omeruo wasn’t booked in the game played in front of 22,997 fans at the Estadio Anoeta.


Antyhony Ujah and Karim Onisiwo (Mainz): Ujah was in action when his team suffered a 0-3 loss to VFL Wolfsburg on Saturday. The defeat was the club’s third loss on the trot in the German Bundesliga. Ujah, was thrown into the fray for the less effective Jean-Paul Boetius in the 74th minute of play. His compatriot, Onisiwo who also came off the substitutes’ bench on the hour mark in a game Mainz put every foot wrong.


Imoh Ezekiel (KV Kortrijk)& Victor Osimhen(Charleroi): Ezekiel scored his first Belgian league goal of the season for his club who were beaten 2-1 at home by Sporting Charleroi for whom Osimhen lasted the entire duration. The goal ended Ezekiel’s 17 game goal drought for Kortrijk this season. The diminutive forward scored three minutes after the restart to hand his side the lead but goals from Ryota Morioka in the 66th minute and Jeremy Perbet in the 90th minute secured an away win for Charleroi.
Super Eagles young forward, Osimhen who is on a three game goal drought has scored nine league goals and in 20 appearances.


Samuel Eduok (Erzurumspor): The former Enyimba forward scored a brace in his team’s 4-2 defeat of Sivasspor, yesterday. Eduok restored his team’s lead in the 30th minute after Serhiy Rybalka equalizer had cancelled out Jasmin Scuk’s fourth minute opener. Hakan Arslan drew Sivasspor level for the second time in the 56th minute before Eduok restored the lead for his team with a header for the second time on the hour mark. The striker was later substituted in the 78th minute of the match. The win is Erzurumspor’s fourth of the season.
Ogenyi Onazi and Anthony Nwaekeme (Trabzonspor): While Onazi remains on the treatment table, his compatriot, Nwaekeme, fired blank for 90 minutes. The Super Eagles fringe player has not scored in his last five league games despite scoring four times in 15 league matches.
Chidozie Awaziem, Aminu Umar and Okechukwu Azubuike (Rizespor) & Abdullahi Shehu(Bursaspor):  Azubuike scored his team’s second goal in the 78th min of the 2-0 away win at Bursaspor.  Aside scoring a goal, the former U-23 captain had 80 per cent pass accuracy, 5 duels won, 2 tackles won and 4 accurate long balls.
Umar who was replaced with 12 minutes left to play and Awaziem also made the starting line-up for the winners. Awaziem who lasted the duration was cautioned in the 29th minute. He appeared to be enjoying new lease of life following his loan from FC Porto as he made 9 clearances, one tackle, 2 blocked shots, 9 duels won and 61 per cent pass accuracy.
Shehu on his part came on for Ramazan Keskin in the 30th minute for his fourth substitute appearance.
Victor Moses (Fenerbahce): He made his first Turkish Super Lig start in the 1-1 draw at home to Konyaspor. The former Nigeria international who was making his fifth appearance since arriving at the club, was replaced in the 82nd minute.


Blessing Eleke (FC Luzern) & Stanley Amuzie (Lugano): Eleke was sent off in the 65th minute as his side lost 0-3 at home to Lugano for whom left-back, Amuzie was not listed.
Eleke has scored seven league goals and three assists in 19 games for FC Luzern.


Josh Maja and Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux): Maja contributed little in his team’s 2-1 win over Toulose and was substituted after 66 minutes while Kalu was not listed following his two-match suspension.

FFF extends Kalu’s suspension

French Football Federation has extended the punishment of Super Eagles winger, Samuel Kalu by two games after a review by the disciplinary committee of the French Football Governing Body on Saturday.
The former KAA Gent was originally suspended for a game for Bordeaux following hisstraight red card in a rescheduled league one match against Marseille earlier this month.
The winger who was hoping for an early after missing last week’s clash against league leaders PSG, will now be suspended for two more matches for Bordeaux.
He will therefore be sit out of the game against Toulouse on Sunday and also Wednesday’s home clash with Guingamp.
Kalu has scored four goals and assisting three more in all competitions since arriving from Belgium in the summer.


William Troost-Ekong (Udinese): He lasted 90 minutes and put in a solid performance when his club secured a 1-0 win over Chievo.
Torino wants Aina on permanent deal: Chelsea starlet, Ola Aina, has made a solid impression away on loan at Torino, so much so that the Serie A side wants to sign him permanently.
According to a report from the Daily Mirror, Serie A outfit Torino are set to to take up the £9 million option to make Chelsea full-back Ola Aina’s loan deal into a permanent one.
The 22-year-old London-born Nigerian international has been with the Chelsea since 2013 and having come through the youth ranks at the club, he made his first-team debut in an EFL Cup tie against Bristol Rovers in August 2016, under then manager Antonio Conte. Two months later Aina made his Premier League bow as well and featured six times in total in all competitions in his debut senior season.
The subsequent campaign saw Aina sent out on loan to EFL Championship outfit Hull City, where he missed only two of the 46 league games over the course of the season, assisting three goals in the process.
Back at Chelsea once his loan with the Tigers expired, the 22-year-old was once again sent out to Torino, with first-team chances bleak given that Cesar Azpilicueta, Davide Zappacosta and Victor Moses were all ahead of him in the pecking order for the right-back slot.
Since moving to Italy, the seven-time capped Nigerian international has featured in 20 Serie A matches for the club. Aina scored his first goal for Torino this past weekend, firing them to a 1-0 win over Udinese, while he also has a solitary assist against his name.
Aina has a contract with Chelsea that expires in the summer of 2021.


Chikeluba Ofoedu (Maccabi Tel Aviv): The former Rangers forward provided two assists as his team defeated Kiryat Shmona 3-0 to maintain their 20 points lead at the top with three matches to the end of the regular season.
Ofoedu has now taken his assists tally to eight in addition to the eight goals he has scored so far.


Malmo enforcer, Bonke, in line for shock Eagles invitation: Following injury to Super Eagles midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi, coach gernor Rohr is weighing up options and may extend invitation to former U-17 trainee, Innocent Bonke owing to his good form for Swedish club, Malmo FF.
The 23-year-old has similar style of play with Onzai but he passes the ball better and his hold up play under pressure is also not too far off from that of Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel.
With the 2019 Sweden League yet to get underway, Bonke who joined Malmo from Norwegian side, Lillestrom SK starred in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers and the Europa League group stage where he captained the team against Hungarian side, Vidi FC.


Uzoho struggling for match fitness ahead Eagles duty: Francis Uzoho will be struggling for match fitness ahead of the national team’s international matches against Seychelles and Egypt next month, allnigeriasoccer.com reports.
The Deportivo de La Coruña loanee has been left out of the Anorthosis Famagusta squad for their Cypriot First Division A clash against Omonia Nicosia on Sunday, February 17.
Uzoho has featured in only two games for his clubs since the start of the calendar year and his future at Anorthosis Famagusta has been the subject of speculation after the Cyprus Sports Organization (KOA) revoked the medical certificate that was issued to him.
Anorthosis Famagusta have to file for a new medical certificate before the Nigeria first choice goalkeeper is allowed to play again.
Shortly after the Super Eagles star made his debut for Anorthosis, Apollon filed a protest citing irregularities in the mandatory health certificate issued for the Nigerian by the KOA.
Anorthosis Famagusta could be deducted nine points if they are found guilty of falsifying Uzoho’s medical certificate.


Okonkwo looks up to Montreal’s African trio: New signing at Montreal Impact of USA, Orji Okonkwo is bound to get ‘brotherly’ motivation at the Major League Soccer (MLS) club, as he has three other African players to hobnob with in the team.
The 21-year-old will feel at home int he company of Senegalese goalkeeper, Clement Diop, Saphir Taider from Algeria and Michael Azira from Uganda.
The product of Abuja Football College, who was part of Nigeria’s winning Golden Eaglets’ squad at Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, will aim to hit the ground running in a fortnight, when Impact open their quest in MLS season with an away against San Jose Earthquakes on March 2.
Okonkwo, who was previously on loan with Brescia, arrives from Italian Serie A side, Bologna, which he joined in 2016.
He will be looking to have more regular playing time with Montreal, as he made just 27 Serie A appearances, only four as a starter, during his days with Bologna.
However, Okonkwon’s new coach, Remi Garde is rating the youngster high and says he is excited to welcome him into the team.
Garde stated: “I’m satisfied in welcoming another striker to the team. Orji Okwonkwo is a young player scouted by Bologna three years ago.
“(He) will help reinforce the team offensively. He’s a strong and quick forward who has an interesting margin of progression. I would like to welcome him to the team.”


Ibe suffers debut defeat: Former Akwa United attacking midfielder Michael Ibe who recently completed a move to Jordan’s second division side Al Karmel SC suffered a 2-3 away loss to Al Yarmouk. Reacting to the loss the Nigerian said; “First game of the season. Disappointed with the result but the team gave everything and I had an assist. I thank God. We go again”
Al-Karmel is currently eight on the Jordanian division one table and will next face Ittihad Al Ramtha on Monday, February 18.
Meanwhile, Ibe has thanked the management, coaching staff and players of Akwa United for their support over the years during his time at the club.
Ibe who joined Akwa United from Abia Warriors played three seasons with the promise keepers before signing a deal which will see him stay at the Jordanian division one club till 2021.
The Nigeria U-23 player sent in an emotional message to the club that helped shape him as a person and the management for their listening ear and the fans for their unending support, he wrote; “Thank you to Akwa United FC, the Chairman, Management , the coach and my teammates for my opportunity at the club. I gave everything and wish the club success.”


Chima flies into China for Heilongjiang transfer talks: Molde FF forward, Daniel Chima is in advanced talks with a Chinese League One club.
Heilongjiang Lava Spring FC have reached an agreement with Molde FK for Chima to join the club on a season-loan, paving the way for the player and his agent to fly to China to discuss personal terms.
Given the striker’s impressive exploits for Shanghai Shenxin, Heilongjiang Lava Spring would be hoping to sign a player who has experience of playing in China.
During that two-year stint with Shanghai Shenxin, Chima was directly involved in 34 goals (21 goals, 13 assists) in 50 appearances.
After an eventful spell in China, he joined Legia Warsaw in January 2017 before returning to Molde for a second spell in February 2018.
He began his professional career in Europe with Lyn Fotball in Oslo.
Ighalo grateful to Martins over Shanghai Shenhua move: Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo has hailed fellow Nigerian striker and former Shanghai Shenhua forward, Obafemi Martins for his counsel before he opted to join the Shanghai-based side ahead of the new CSL season.
The pair had a meeting, with Ighalo posting afterward: “Thank you, senior man, for the advice. You are a king.”
That meeting was followed by Shanghai’s announcement of Ighalo as their new striker ahead of the new season, which starts in 15 days.
The Nigerian finished as the League’s second top scorer with 21 goals behind Lei Wu but was unable to save Changchun Yatai as they were relegated to the second tier of Chinese football.
Ighalo, 29, will now be reunited with former Watford manager Quique Flores as he hopes to help Shenhua improve on their 7th place finish last season.
His arrival will most definitely cool the nerves of the Shenhua fan ahead of their league opener next month against champions Shanghai SIPG after the departure of Demba Ba and Obafemi Martins who was canceled following the injury he suffered in April last year.

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