Wednesday, April 18, 2012

VIETNAM: THE NEW MECCA FOR NIGERIAN FOOTBALL?

His name hit me like a sledge hammer, I remembered him like it was yesterday, this ex-Gombe Utd attacker terrorized Nigerian Premier league defenders in the late 90’s and was such a handful on the continental stage too. I totally forgot about him until I was going through my archives and saw a graphic detail of a wonder goal he scored against Wikki Tourists, which prompted the investigative journo in me.
I was able to track him down to Vietnam, and in the process, lots of surprises sprang up that made me to change lanes and do a short story on ‘our’ boys who ply their trade in Indonesia.
Belgium was a huge attraction for Nigerian footballers in the mid 80’s and well into the 90’s, Stephen Keshi, who is the current National team boss was the first to make the foray into the unknown back then, now it seems Vietnam is the place to be for Nigerian players, as of last count, there was about 28 Nigerian players in the Vietnamese premier and first divisions.
Most of these players find Vietnam an attractive destination because “your ITC is not a problem” as one of the players said, moreover “it is tax free and we enjoy ourselves here” he added while avoiding telling me the average remuneration a top division player makes.

Timothy Anjembe

Former Nigerian League hot-shot Timothy Anjembe is one of the most popular players in the Vietnamese league, Anjembe arrived here three seasons ago and has risen to become a hot commodity in the league, he currently plays for HANOI FC in the capital city. Some of the players here say that the money and facilities are much better than what is obtainable in Nigeria and as such have no qualms moving to Vietnam. A foreign player can earn as much as $5,000 – $12,000 a month with perks and add-ons.
Onome Sodje
  Another attractive factor is the weather and food which is akin to that in Nigeria, so settling down is not much of an issue, unlike Europe where it might take a newbie ages to settle down due to the weather and cultural differences.
Samson Kayode
Bassey Akpan who kept in goal for the eaglets in the FIFA U17 Corld Cup in Trinidad and Tobago leads a cast of known and proven Nigerian Players taking their talents into the Vietnamese terrain, he says “ I hope to use this country to launch myself into Europe”, adding that the football in Vietnam will suit Nigerian players who are known for their physical attributes as well as their physical conditioning.


Former U17 international Ganiyu Oseni is another player gradually making a name for himself in Vietnam, he plays for KIENLONG BANK KIEN GIANG and is touted for a move to Europe. Some Nigerians have also naturalized here so that they can free up space for their clubs to sign more foreigners.
Gbenga Felix Ajala

In May,2011 Amaobi Uzowuru who plays for Binh Dinh was among five foreign footballers granted citizenship by the Vietnamese government having lived in the country for at least five years. He also adopted a Vietnamese name and he is now known as Dang Amaobi. The official list of players registered for the 2012 season definitely threw up some names that caught my eye, some of which included Ejike Izuagha ( Nwankwo Kanu’s nephew) Onome Sodje ( Efe Sodje’s cousin) Aniekan Ekpe (ex Enyimba midfielder) Felix Gbenga Ajala (former Lobi Stars & Dolphins fc) and lots more, below is a comprehensive list of Nigerian players registered for the 2012 season.
Any surprises? I bet, please don’t hesitate to add comments and make inquiries
VIETNAM SUPER LEAGUE 2012

HOANG ANH GIA LAI
Bassey Akpan (Nigeria)

BECAMEX BINH DUONG
Udo Fortune (Nigeria),

TDCS DONG THAP
Felix Ajala (Nigeria),
Sunday Ibeji (Nigeria),
 
HA NOI FC
Timothy Anjembe (Nigeria),
Odinaka Ezeocha (Nigeria)

HA NOI T&T
Samson Kayode (Nigeria),

KIENLONG BANK KIEN GIANG
Ganiyu Oseni (Nigeria),
Friday Ibeji (Nigeria),

NAVIBANK SAI GON
Aniekan Okon (Nigeria),

VISSAI NINH BINH
Dio Preye (Nigeria) Naturalised
Maxwell Eyerakpo (Nigeria) Naturalised


THANH HOA FC
Emmanuel Sunday (Nigeria),

FIRST DIVISION 2012

THAN QUANG NINH
Philip Okoro (Nigeria)
Abdullahi Suleiman (Nigeria)


DA NANG YOUTH TEAM
Uche Iheroume (Nigeria)
Chinedu Nweze (Nigeria)

SQC BINH DINH
Amaobi Honest (Nigeria)

FICO TAY NINH
Ejike Ikechukwu (Nigeria)




5 comments:

  1. onome sodje has since moved to malta, so it's one Nigerian less

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  2. Well done boss, some investigative Journalism you did here.

    If Vietnam provides them with the good working environment and adequate pay, I don't think it's such a bad idea but wait, Vietnam????? Hmmmmmm

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  3. interesting read, great insight. Some of them may end up playing for the Vietnam national team.

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  4. Its important you ensure all legal procedures are followed in your preparations of traveling to Vietnam as Nigerian citizen. Get all documents and then you can think of applying online for the Vietnam visa on arrival service. Checkout these links and you will get help you need:

    http://www.visa-vietnam.org
    http://www.vietnamvisa.fr

    ReplyDelete