Sports

Iheanacho resurrects, scores, provides assist in slim Leicester win

... ex-Kano Pillars defender, Eze, sees red in Bulgaria

At a time many football aficionados have written him off, Kelechi
Iheanacho at the weekend rose from the substitutes’ bench to provide
an assist for Leicester’s equaliser and also scored the winning goal
to ensure the Foxes claimed three points against a resolute Everton
side that has Alex Iwobi on its roster.
In Turkey, Super Eagles forgotten striker, Olanrewaju Kayode found the
back of the net. Also on song in the same league is former U-23
forward, Aminu Umar.
In Bulgaria, former Kano Pillars central defender, Stephen Eze has a
weekend to forget so soon after being shown a red card in the 74th
minute of Lokomotiv Plovdiv’s match.
In yet another report, ADEBAYO OLODAN scouts Europe to present to you
the performances of Super Eagles players and hopefuls.

ENGLAND
Alex Iwobi (Everton) & Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester
City): Want-away forward, Iheanacho was the star boy as he provided an
assist six mins after his introduction in the 68th min before adding
the winning goal in regulation time to hand the Foxes a late 2-1 win
over Everton for whom Iwobi lasted 79mins. Iheanacho’s teammate, Ndidi
lasted the duration of the match.
Leon Balogun (Brighton Hove Albion): The central defender was not in
his team’s travelling squad that suffered a  2-1 loss to title-chasing
Liverpool.
Akande leaves Chelsea
Adrian Akande has left English Premier League side Chelsea.
The club did not offer a scholarship to the highly-rated winger.
The U17 invitee had made it clear that he was not interested in
extending his stay at Stamford Bridge.
He was a member of the Golden Eaglets squad to the 2019 U17 Africa Cup
of Nations.
He joined Chelsea from another London club, Crystal Palace at the age of twelve.
The 16-year-old has already trained with West Ham, Glasgow Rangers and
German Bundesliga club Hoffenheim in recent weeks.
Akande made his debut in the Premier League 2 against Newcastle United
in August 2019 at the age of 15.
CHAMPIONSHIP
Eberechi Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel (QPR): Eze scored their club’s
only goal in their 1-1 draw against Derby County in the 45th min after
Osayi-Samuel was brought down.
Saturday’s effort stretched Eze’s tally to seven goals in 19 league
games in this campaign while Osayi-Samuel could not add to his tally
of one goal in 11 matches.
Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford): The duo were not listed
when their club against Southampton.
SCOTLAND
Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo & Uche Ikpeazu (Hearts): Ikpeazu and Aribo who
both made the starting line-up were cautioned in the 31st and 45th min
respectively in the 5-0 thumping of Hearts for whom Ikpeazu lasted
70mins. Ojo was introduced in the 67th min of the match.
SPAIN
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal): The flying winger played for 27 mins
when his team suffered a 2-1 reverse at Valencia – the club’s third
straight La Liga defeat.
Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem (Leganes): The injured Omeruo was
missing while Awaziem who went the distance was cautioned in the 49th
min of their club’s 0-1 loss at Sevilla.
Son of DSS boss, Abba Bichi, joins Valencia
A member of the Nigeria U-17 team to the recently concluded 2019 FIFA
U17 World Cup Abba Bichi has signed a one year deal with option of a
further two years with Spanish side, Valencia.
Bichi will join the U-18 team of the La Liga side from where his
progress will determine if he will be promoted to the first team and
that will trigger a three years extension.
The inclusion of Bichi in the Nigeria U-17 team for the championship
caused uproar in the country with many of the opinion that his father
who is the head of the Nigeria security attached to the President,
Yusuf Bichi Magaji influenced his selection.
At the tournament proper the player didn’t get to play any game as
Nigeria crashed out of the round of 16 to the surprise of many who
have tipped the five-time champions for the title base on their past
antecedents.
In an exclusive chat with Opera News Hub in Abuja, an elated Bichi
confirmed the move and termed it that as a dream come true to develop
his game in Spain and he hopes that he will progress in the country
known for her sublime football talents.
“It is a good thing to sign for Valencia. I feel happy and proud
because finally I can have one of the most advanced football community
right in my door step and I can develop my game tremendously,” Bichi
said.
ITALY
Ola Aina (Torino): The former Chelsea defender was benched for the
entire 90 mins in his team’s 1-0 win at Genoa.
William Troost-Ekong (Udinese): He was shown a yellow card in the 35th
min of his team’s 0-3 loss at SS Lazio.
DIV 2
Simy Nwankwo (Crotone): He lasted the duration of his club’s 1-1 draw
at home to Cittadella.
GERMANY
Jamilu Collins (SC Paderbon): The left-back was unable to prevent his
team from going down to a 3-2 home defeat against RB Leipzig. Collins
who was booked in the 33rd min has scored once in 12 league outings
for the club.
Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi (Union Berlin): Ujah played the
last four mins while Abdullahi was not listed when their club suffered
a 2-1 loss at Schalke 04.
Greuther Furth tables offer for U-17 star, Olawale
17- year- old forward, Peter Olawale has received a firm offer from
German second division side Greuther Furth.
In a letter dated 28th of November, the German club invited the left
footed forward for a
20-day tour and training at their facility from 7th of December. The
club said it needed the player that long in order to evaluate him at
their facility.
Olawale scored once for the Golden Eaglets side that failed to go past
the round of 16 at the recently concluded U17 World Cup but his all
round play has impressed top clubs around Europe according to reports
gathered by our editorial team.
The player and his management team are yet to accept the offer from
Greuther Furth as it came at a time when they are also considering a
similar offer from two Dutch teams and three teams from Belgium.
A decision on if the player will take up the offer will be made by his
management team but it’s clear that they are open to doing a deal with
the club that will be best to build the career of the forward who is
nicknamed “Nigeria Aguero” by his teammates.
German-Nigerian left-back, Okoroji, courted as alternative to Collins
Reports in Germany suggest that coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr
has made contact with on-loan Freiburg left-back, Chima Okoroji.
Rohr has not been too impressed with the performance of Jamilu Collins
lately and even dropped the Paderborn defender for the Super Eagles
4-2 win away to Lesotho in the AFCON 2021 Qualifiers.
Although Ola Aina impressed in the role, the coach is keen on having a
left footed player in that role hence his quest to get more options
and Okoroji is high on priority list ahead of the next international
round of games in March.
22-year-old Chima was born in Germany to Nigerian parents but hasn’t
played for the country of his birth at any level which means he won’t
be needing any sort of approval from FIFA to play for Nigeria.
This season he has enjoyed regular run of games at second division
side SSV Jahn Regensburg where he is on loan from Freiburg and just
like Collins, Rohr want to introduce him to the senior national team
setup despite playing in the German second division.
Already contacts have been made after extensive scouting and it’s
believed that the defender is also keen on playing for Nigeria as it
represents his surest route to play international football for now.
FRANCE
Victor Osimhen (Lille): The Super Eagles forward netted the winning
goal from the spot late in the first half in the 1-0 defeat of Dijon.
The 20-year-old has now scored eight goals and bagged two assists in
14 league appearances for Les Dogues this season.
Josh Maja and Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux): Maja was on song in their club’s
1-1 away draw against Reims. The goal was Maja’s second in 13 league
appearances for the former league champions. His international
teammate, Kalu was also in action from the start but was replaced in
the 62nd min.
Moses Simon (Nantes): He assisted the winning goal when his club
defeated Toulose 2-1.
HOLLAND
Cyriel Dessers (Heracles): The striker opened scoring in the 22nd min
and added his team’s third in the 57th min of the 4-0 thrashing of ADO
Den Haag.
Joel Asoro (FC Groningen): He was substituted in the 79th min of his
club’s 1-0 loss at Fortuna Sittard.
Dessers now Nigeria’s top scorer in Europe
After scoring a brace for Heracles Almelo in their 4-0 hammering of
ADO Den Haag on Saturday, Belgian-born forward, Cyriel Dessers has
overtaken former Dream Team striker Umar Sadiq as the leading
Nigeria-eligible scorer in the European Leagues for the 2019-2020
season.
While Dessers has 11 goals to his name from 15 appearances in the
Dutch Eredivisie, the Roma loanee has found the net on 10 occasions
for Partizan Belgrade.
The 24-year-old is in the form of his life, having contributed to 15
goals (10 goals, 5 assists) in his last ten league matches, something
that the top scorer in Europe’s top five leagues, Robert Lewandowski
has not managed to do in his last 10 Bundesliga games for Bayern
Munich (10 goals, 1 assist).
Whether or not Dessers scores in Heracles Almelo’s next three matches
against Sparta Rotterdam, Utrecht and Heerenveen before the end of
2019, he has already equalled the best half of a season in his
professional career.
The former NAC Breda star notched up 11 goals in the first half of the
2016-2017 season while playing in the Dutch second-tier.
Dessers previously informed allnigeriasoccer.com that it would be a
huge honour to play for Nigeria and his mom and dad would be proud of
the decision.
I don’t know why Ejuke is not in national team – Heerenveen Coach
Coach of Dutch side, Heerenveen, Johnny Jansen has said he is at lost
as to why Chidera Ejuke is not in the senior national team of Nigeria
owing to his performances this season.
Ejuke joined the Dutch side from Valerenga in the summer and has
turned out to be an instant hit with the team finding the back of the
net six times in 14 league games aside several Man of the Match
awards.
Jensen while speaking ahead of their game against Vitesse said he is
surprised that the 21- year-old wasn’t invited by Coach Gernot Rohr to
the Super Eagles during the recent international break.
He however confirmed that he was called up to the Nigeria U-23 team
for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations but the timing of the tournament
made it impossible for them to release the wing forward who has
completed more dribbles than any other player in the Dutch Eredivisie
this season.
” I was surprised that he didn’t get a call up to the main team of
Nigeria. You have to ask the coach why because he did enough to get a
look in. However we rejected the chance for him to join the Nigeria
U-23 team because the timing of the tournament wasn’t best for both
parties. He will no doubt become a senior international in the nearest
future “, he concluded.
RUSSIA
Sylvester Igboun (Dynamo Moscow) & Brian Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow):
Igboun lasted 73 mins and helped his team secure a 2-1 away win at
Lokomotiv Moscow for whom Idowu was a non-playing substitute.
TURKEY
Aminu Umar (Rizespor): The striker who lasted the distance ended a run
of nine matches without a goal with his 10th min strike in his club’s
3-1 win over Konyaspor. The 24-year-old scored in the 12th min to end
an 833-minute wait for a goal.
Olanrewaju Kayode (Gaziantep): The former Manchester City forward was
on target in the 54th min and lasted the duration of his team’s narrow
1-2 home loss to Denizlispor.
Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor) & Emeka Eze (Adanaspor): Eze drew the
first blood in the 20th min of his team’s 2-3 loss at home to
Bursaspor for whom Shehu also lasted the distance.
Anthony Nwaekeme, Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor): Mikel and
Nwaekeme played for 90 mins while Onazi was not listed for their
club’s 1-1 draw at home to Galatasaray.
BELGIUM
Emmanuel Dennis and David Okereke (Club Brugge):Okereke was
substituted in the 71st min while his colleague, Dennis was a
non-playing substitute when their club defeated Royal Excel Mouscron
1-0.
Paul Onuachu and Stephen Odey (Genk): Onuachu was a 61st min
substitute while Odey was not listed when their club suffered a 1-2
loss at home to St. Truiden.
Abdul Ajagun (Kortrijk): He was an unused substitute when his team
suffered a 0-2 loss at home to Gent.
DIV 2
Saviour Godwin (KSV Roeselare): He rounded off the scoring in the 3-1
defeat of Lommel United.
PORTUGAL
Mikel Agu (Victoria Guimaraes): The midfielder lasted the distance of
his club’s 1-1 draw at Victoria Setubal.
BULGARIA
Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv): The leggy central defender was sent
off in the 74th min for a second bookable offence in his team’s
goalless draw against FC Arda Kardzhali.
DENMARK
Tosin Kehinde and Marvin Egho (Randers) & Rilwan Hassan
(SonderjyskeE): Kehinde was substituted in the 79th min while Egho
lasted the distance when their club defeated SonderjyskeE 3-0. Former
Midtjylland midfielder, Hassan who lasted 66 mins was on the losing
side.
Ayo Simon Okosun (AC Horsens): He lasted the distance when his team
earned a 2-1 win over OB Odense.
Daniel Anyembe (Esbjerg): He lasted the duration of his team’s 1-2
loss at home to AGF.
Tochi Phil Chukwuani and Ibrahim Sadiq (FC Nordsjaelland): Sadiq was
substituted in the 77th min while Chukwuani was an unused substitute
when their club earned a 1-1 draw against Lyngby.
Fremad signs ABS striker, Olakunle
The future of Nigeria U17 forward Olakunle Olusegun has been laid to
rest after Fremad FC of Denmark agreed a deal in principle to buy the
forward from ABS FC.
A key member of the Nigeria U17 team to the recently concluded 2019
U17 World Youth Championship, a host of clubs were reportedly
interested in his signing but Fremad FC stole a march on their rivals
to reach an agreement to sign the soon to be 18-year-old.
He will be required to train with their nursery team in Russia Vista
FC before he turns 18 where he will team up with the main team who are
campaigning in the second division of Danish football.
Already his family has given their blessings to the move which is seen
as developmental as he will get the chance to play and improve at the
club than if he decide to move to a team playing in mainstream Europe.
Olakunle was top scorer at the WAFU B U17 tournament in Niger Republic
but he couldn’t match same height at the Africa U17 Cup of Nations.
At the World Youth Championship even though he scored once, he wasn’t
at the level many expected him to be as Nigeria crashed out of the
tournament in the round of 16.
NORWAY
Samuel Adegbenro and Babajide David Akintola (Rosenborg): Adegbenro
scored the winning goal in the 81st min of their club’s 3-2 defeat of
Ranheim and was substituted three mins later. His teammate, Akintola
played a cameo role following his 84th min introduction.
Leke James (Molde FK): Scored twice (his club’s first and last goal)
in the 8th and 87th min of his team’s 4-2 thrashing of Bodoe/Glimt.
Sam Adekugbe (Vaalerenga): He lasted the distance and was cautioned in
the 23rd min of his team’s 0-1 loss at Mjoendalen.
DIV 2
Afeez Aremu (IK Start): The former U-20 star was substituted in the
68th min of his team’s 1-0 win over KFUM Oslo and a place in the
Eliteserien Promotion Playoffs.
GEORGIA
Rafael Chukwu (Torpedo Kutaisi): The defender scored in the 25th min
of his team’s 1-2 narrow loss to Chikhura Sachkhere.
Benjamin Teidi (Dinamo Batumi): He was also on the score sheet during
his club’s late 2-1 loss at Locomotive Tbilisi.
SWITZERLAND
Sebastian Osigwe (SC Kriens): The goalkeeper could not prevent his
team from a late 1-2  defeat against Lausanne in the Swiss lower
(Challenge) league.
CROATIA
Iyayi Atiemwen (Dinamo Zagreb): He was a 74th min substitute when his
team recorded a 2-1 away win at NK Istra 1961.
AUSTRIA
Kelvin Arase (Rapid Wien): He played for 90mins when his team earned a
comprehensive 4-0 win at LASK.
SOUTH AFRICA
Akpeyi: No rivalry with Bafana goalie, Khune
Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has insisted that there is no rivalry between
him and Itumeleng Khune at Kaizer Chiefs.
Akpeyi has been enjoying regular game time as Kaizer Chiefs’
first-choice goalkeeper in the absence of club captain Khune who has
spent time on the sidelines due to injury.
Khune recently resumed full training with his teammates but his
absence has had no impact on the team thanks to Akpeyi’s great form
between the sticks.
Akpeyi won the Premier Soccer League Player of the Month award for
September/October on Thursday and the 33-year-old keeper has explained
his relationship with Khune.
“On Khune‚ I don’t think we are having any fight on who is going to be
the No 1 or not,” Akpeyi told reporters.
“It’s only an opportunity that I’m having‚ having the coach to have
confidence in me while Khune is injured.”
He revealed that Khune has been very supportive despite the duo
fighting for the same spot in the team.
“If Khune is fine and the coach decides on whoever he wants to play‚
we are cool,” he explained.
“The good thing is that we have healthy competition in that department
and everybody is pushing each other.
“One thing I like about Khune is that he supports you‚ from what I can
see. He’s not actually looking at Daniel being No 2‚ or No 1‚ or
something.
“It’s about being given the opportunity‚ and we support each other from there.”

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