Onyekuru returns to Galatasaray, January

…how Uzoho, Awaziem, Osimhen, others fared against Selecao


The Super Eagles, yesterday, shared the spoils in an international friendly match against the Selecao of Brazil as Joe Aribo scored his second goal in as many appearances for the senior national team.
Elsewhere, barely four months after leaving Turkey for France, former Eupen forward, Henry Onyekuru has agreed in principle to return to Galatasaray where he had an impressive campaign last term. Onyekuru has found playing time limited at Monaco where he is presently their fourth choice striker and a move to Gala may see him returning to first team football again.
In this report, ADEBAYO OLODAN captures the performances and news involving Nigerian players abroad.

Iwobi begs Bournemouth star to play for Eagles
Everton summer signing, Alex Iwobi, begs is reportedly pleading with Bournemouth midfielder, Philip Billing to represent Super Eagles instead of Denmark.
The 23-year-old who is of Nigerian descent was born in Denmark and has featured for the Red and White’s U19 and U20 sides but he is still eligible to play for Genort Rohr side.
Iwobi and Everton came up against Billing and the Cherries a couple of weeks ago, a game Bournemouth won 3-1, and the Nigerian saw enough from the Danish youth international to speak to him about considering playing for Super Eagles.
In quotes translated from BT, Billing said: “It wasn’t until when we (Bournemouth) were going to play against Everton a couple of weeks ago when Alex Iwobi asked if I might be interested in coming and playing for Nigeria.
“He said the coach had asked me. It was the first time I heard anything concrete myself.”
He added: “It’s a pat on the back that another country would like you to play for them. I just take that as a shrug and proof that you are doing well.
“It would feel strange to have to play for Nigeria, even though my father is from there.
“I am half Nigerian and I feel that way too but I was born and raised in Denmark. My mother is Danish and my sister is Danish, so it would feel strange to have to play for Nigeria.”
Billing could make his international debut for Denmark when they take on Switzerland in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.
Emmanuel Osadebe (Macclesfield Town): He scored the winning goal in the 64th min of his team’s 2-1 defeat of Port Vale at Moss Rose Ground. Osadebe tapped in a low cross assisted by Welch-Hayes and ran away with the Silkmen’s Man of the Match award for his efforts.
Oladapo Afolayan (Mansfield Town): His team recorded the biggest win in the division thrashing Oldham Athletic 6-1 following the 61st min introduction of the West Ham loanee.
It took him only five minutes to extend the lead as he rolled home into the empty net after a stunning counter attack. It was the first Mansfield Town goal for Afolayan, who spend the second half of last season on loan at Oldham Athletic.
Hope Akpan and Aramide Oteh (Bradford City): Akpan made it two goals in as many games when he opened the scoring in the 47th min, before Queens Park Rangers loanee, Oteh hammered a driven shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 against Morecambe with 12 mins left. The match however ended in a 2-1 win for Bradford who are up to third in the table.
Onyekuru returns to Galatasaray, January
Monaco forward, Henry Onyekuru will join Turkish Super Lig side, Galatasaray on a six-month loan deal in January.
Galatasaray, according to a report in will pay Monaco €1m as loan fee for the former Eupen forward, who will earn €750,000 for the period.
Onyekuru linked up with Monaco from English Premier League club, Everton this summer but has struggled to earn a starting shirt at the former Ligue 1 champions.
The 22-year-old who has made four league appearances for Leanardo Jardim’s men is behind the trio of Islam Simani, Wissam Ben Yedder and Gelson Martins in the pecking order.
Onyekuru had a successful loan spell with Galatasaray last season, where he scored 14 goals in 31 league appearances.
He won the Turkish League and FA Cup titles with the club.
Galatasaray has struggled to replicate last season’s form despite the arrival of Colombian forward, Radamel Falcao from Monaco.
Fathi Terim’s men currently occupy 10th position in the table with 10 points from seven games.
… travels for 3 hrs to Turkey for haircut
Super Eagles striker, Henry Onyekuru, last week travelled from France to Turkey to get his hair cut according to his barber.
Turkey based Nigerian celebrity barber, Mukaila Ajanaku has revealed that he wasn’t surprised when Onyekuru travelled for 2 hours, 40 minutes to get his haircut.
Mukaila Ajanaku was Henry Onyekuru barber while the attacker was on loan in Turkey at Galatasaray and the striker has since moved to France with Monaco but he didn’t let distance stop him from getting his regular treat.
“Onyekuru flew in from Monaco just to get a haircut from me. I’m not surprised at all because I have been his stylist since his days at Galatasaray on a loan deal last season.
“Onyekuru believes in my haircut, I am good at what I do and make sure I attend to my clients’ demands.
“If I wasn’t doing a good job I don’t think the likes of Adebayor, Pogba’s brother (Florentin), Dutch winger Eljero Elia, former City defender, Gael Clichy, just to mention a few, will come to my salon,” he told Sports Extra.
The 22-year-old attacker who joined Monaco for a reported fee of £12.5m is yet to score a league goal since making the move.
Osimhen named in Ligue 1 Team of The Week
Lille striker, Victor Osimhen has been named in French Ligue 1 team of the week.
Osimhen scored Lille’s second goal in their 2-2 home draw against Nimes penultimate Sunday.
The 20-year-old has scored seven goals in nine league appearances for his club this season.
The former VFL Wolfsburg of Germany forward is also in the running for Ligue 1 player of the month award alongside Monaco’s Islam Slimani and Nantes’ Nicolas Pallois.
He has already scooped Lille’s player of the month award for September.
Osimhen is joined in the three-man attack by Paris Saint-Germain duo; Neymar Jr and Mauro Icardi.
Three other PSG players; Idrissa Gueye, Pablo Sarabia and Presnel Kipembe also made the list.
Moses open to Chelsea return in January
Former Nigeria international, Victor Moses is targeting a return to Chelsea in the January transfer window.
Turkish sports daily Fanatik claims that the right winger is planning to return to Stamford Bridge when the transfer window opens for business and has the approval of manager Frank Lampard.
Moses was farmed out on loan to Fenerbahce in January due to a lack of first team opportunities under ex-Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, his fourth loan stint having previously played for Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham Utd.
The 28-year-old was linked with a move to Inter Milan in the summer but the Nerazzurri went cold on the transfer after capturing Valentino Lazaro from Hertha Berlin.
Moses and Lampard played together at Chelsea in his first season at the club, so the former England midfielder knows all about his qualities and weaknesses.
Moses has not played for Fenerbahce since the opening round of the Turkish Super Lig season in which he suffered a muscle injury but he is close to a return to full fitness.
If Chelsea and Fenerbahce honour the loan agreement, Moses would remain at the Yellow Canaries until the end of the 2019-2020 season.
Mikel plans to become Lampard’s assistant
Former Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel planned to become an assistant coach under Frank Lampard at Chelsea in the nearest future.
The 32-year-old 2013 Africa Cup Nations winner played alongside with current Blues manager for about ten years at Stamford Bridge where the won Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup, Caraboa Cup, and Community Shield.
Lampard was appointed as Chelsea manager following the departure of Maurizio Sarri after an impressing season last term for the English Championship side Derby County
Mikel who is currently at the Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor told Sport Witness, where he shared his thoughts on what was happening at Stamford Bridge.
“I am very happy for Frank. When we were playing at Chelsea, we are expecting that John Terry and he would be very good managers, but we were expecting Terry to reach that level first. But Lampard made a big step.
“His arrival at Chelsea means the club are caring for their legends. I joked with him after the Chelsea move, I want to be his assistant when I retire. I hope he will be successful at Chelsea for many more years. I also want to see John Terry in similar jobs in the future because he was our leader on the pitch.”
Aside Lampard, former players like Jody Moris who is assistant, technical advisor, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole and Eddie Newton are part of the backroom staffs at both junior and senior levels.
Onyekachi Silas (Vilafranquense): He lasted the distance when his team secured a hard earned 1-0 win over Oliveirense.
Okonkwo named Montreal Impact’s 2019 MVP
The Montreal Impact has announced Orji Okwonkwo as the club’s Most Valuable Player in 2019, receiving the Giuseppe-Saputo Trophy.
In his first season with the Impact, at just 21 years old, Okwonkwo finished the year with eight goals, the highest total for a player in his first year with the club since Didier Drogba scored 11 in 2015. He added two assists in 28 games, including 24 starts, and 1,784 minutes.
Okwonkwo finished tied for second on the team for goals and shots (55) and tied for 10th in MLS with two multi-goal games, recording a brace in wins versus Portland and Philadelphia.
Acquired on loan from Bologna F.C. 1909 at the start of the season, Okwonkwo stood out on June 26 in a 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers, scoring the game-winning goal on a volley for which he was awarded the MLS Goal of the Week for week 17.
Int’l Friendly: Super Eagles hold Brazil in Singapore
The Super Eagles yesterday held five-time World Champions, Brazil, to a 1-1 draw at the Singapore National Stadium in a game that saw Paris Saint Germaine star, Neymar limp off after just 12 minutes.
The Super Eagles took the lead against the run of play when Glasgow Rangers striker Joe Aribo reacted quickest in the Brazil box to lash home in the 35th minute as Marquinhos dawdled.
The first half saw both teams miss a plethora of chances as scores remained 1-0 going into the break.
Brazil however leveled matters shortly after the interval when Casemiro stabbed home the rebound after Maquinhos had headed off the woodwork.  In a bid to get back to winning ways, Brazil launched a series of lofted balls into the Nigerian half but they were easily dealt with by the defence and goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
Chuwkwueze and Brazil’s Coutinho both missed opportunities to get the match-winner for their sides late into stoppage time as the game ended 1-1.
The draw sees Brazil now failing to win a match in their past four outings with the major concern from the Seleção perspective being Neymar’s limping off in the 12th minute of the action.
…how Uzoho, Aribo, Osimhen, others fared against Brazil
Not many people gave the Super Eagles a chance of earning a draw against the Selecao of Brazil but Gernot Rohr’s men held their own in Singapore.
Below is the rating of Super Eagles players in the 1-1 draw against the five times World Cup winners in the international friendly meant to help both teams prepare for their upcoming competitive engagements.
Francis Uzoho – He produced series of top drawer save to keep the Super Eagles in it and looked spirited in between the sticks. He made two very good saves to deny Firmino and later Gabriel Jesus. Went off injured after a collision with Casemiro from the only error he made in the game when he misjudged the flight of a cross into the box…  7/10.
Chidozie Awaziem –The versatile right back did not lose a single tackle and covered up nicely for the central defenders. Tracked back well and did his defensive share of the work. His confidence and link up play when on the ball was also eye catching. A vastly improved player from when he first made his debut for the Eagles…  7/10
Jamilu Collins – The Paderborn left-back appeared the weaker link in the defence line.
Gabriel Jesus ghosted past him with ease and Collins’ clearances were speculative at best. He was however alert to the threat of the Brazilians particularly in the second half … 6/10
William Troost-Ekong – Solid in aerial duels and tackles but need to work on his movement and passes. Lost Firmino twice but recovered brilliantly to put a block in. The Eagles’ captain of the day was however caught in no man’s land for Casemeiro’s equaliser … 7/10.
Semi Ajayi – Put in commanding shift at the rear alongside Troost-Ekong in the heart of defence. Read and intercepted play with ease. Moved the ball out of the back nicely and also dominated at both ends from set piece. The major highlight of his game was a goal line clearance in the second half which was gathered by Okoye … 8/10.
Wilfred Ndidi – Not quite at his level but still won possession for Nigeria particularly when Brazil look set to threaten. He however gave away possession cheaply and tired out a bit earlier than his teammates. Tried a couple of shots from range and was a defensive presence for his team … 6/10.
Joe Aribo: He bossed possession whenever he got on the ball and never shied away from the battle. Mopped up the tension of the game from box to box, and his eye-catching goal capped off his display. Slowly becoming a huge fan favorite with his second goal in as many games for the senior national team of Nigeria…  8/10.
Alex Iwobi – A sluggish display not close to his usual level. Aside from helping in defending most times he didn’t impose himself on the game like he did in the 2-2 friendly against Ukraine …  5/10.
Moses Simon – Played very close to Dani Alves to stop the ex-Barcelona defender from his usual overlapping runs. Set up Aribo for the first goal with a nice first touch before laying the ball on the plate for Aribo to finish … 7/10.
Samuel Chukwueze – Too quick for Renan Lodi and that helped him get away from his marker easily. He was a constant threat all through the game and if not for poor decision making in the box he could have scored the winner for Eagles …7/10.
Victor Osimhen – Ran the channels brilliantly and troubled the duo of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva with his combination of pace, power and skills. Had the game first shot on target with a smart turn in the box. His run and inch perfect cross to Simon started the move that led to Aribo’s goal … 7/10.
Paul Onuachu – He once again failed to transfer his club form to the national team. The leggy forward wasted possession that could have resorted into a chance for Nigeria. Time is running out on the beanpole forward in the Super Eagles… 4/10
Ramon Azeez – Thrown in for Iwobi to help stem the foray of the Sëleçao as the clock wound down. His energy helped the Eagles see off the last few minutes of the game… 5/10.
Dennis Emmanuel Bonaventure – Failed to track Dani Alves twice but was lucky that it didn’t lead to a goal. Obviously eager to impress and that made him to play below his level… 5/10
Maduka Okoye – Plucked two high balls from his box with confidence. Justified the decision of Rohr to pick him ahead of Ikechukwu Ezenwa as he did not look out of place at all … 5/10.
Peter Olayinka – He will wish for more time on the pitch next time because he was anonymous for the time he was on. Not enough to earn a rating.
Shehu Abdullahi – Didn’t get involve enough to warrant rating.

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