Friday, July 12, 2013


Michael Eneramo looks at the Nigerian stars who are now flocking into Turkey after their compatriots used the Belgian league to launch their careers in Europe in the 80s.

The first notable Nigeria player to move to Turkey was ‘Gentle Giant’ Uche Okechukwu, when he joined Fenerbahce in 1993, before Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Daniel Amokachi followed suit in 1996, when they joined Fenerbahce and Besiktas respectively.

JOSEPH YOBO: Super Eagles captain lead the pack in Turkey where he play for Fenerbahce. Yobo has become an important member of the Turkish giant. His loan deal from Everton was made permanent last summer and he has since won the Turkey league and cup.

PROMISE ISAAC: The Beijing 2008 Dream Team captain has been in Turkey since 2005. The Antalyaspor striker has also played for Genclerbirligi,Trabzonspor and Manisaspor, all in Turkey.

AKEEM AGBETU: Former Nigeria U20 striker is now at his sixth Turkish club since 2009. The Tavsanli Linyitspor striker has played for Sivasspor, Samsunspor, Kocealispor and Boluspor.

NDUKA OZOKWOR: Ex-Nigeria youth international has settled down in Turkey where he plays for Mersin Idmanyurdi after a move to French club Rennes dod not work out. The attacking midfielder, who once featured for Boluspor, has been in Turkey since 2010.

MICHAEL ENERAMO: The big striker has proved himself in Turkey since he arrived Turkey in 2011 from Tunisian club Esperance.

Ex-Sivasspor forward has scored 21 goals from 52 games he has played for Sivasspor since arrival. He was the team's leading scorer in the past season with 12 league goals and 5 in the cup.

He has now signed for a bigger Turkish club Besiktas ahead of new season.

EKIGHO EHIOSUN: ‘The Iron Man’, as the ex-Warri Wolves striker is called, was a revelation for Samsunspor in his first season where he scored 10 goals.

Last season, he joined Genclerbirligi but injury has stalled his progress, but he is back now and hopes for better performance and some luck in the coming season.

KALU UCHE: Nigeria international forward made an instant impact at Istanbul club Kasimpasa as he emerged the second top scorer in the Turkey Super Ligi last season with 19 goals.

RAHEEM LAWAL: He is another Nigeria star who settled down in Turkey with Mersin Idmuyurdu after a move from lower league Adana Demirspor.

The midfielder was outstanding for the relegated side and he is now on radar of teams in the Turkish top flight and he is most likely not to go down with his demoted club.

CHIKELUBA OFOEDU: Ex-Enugu Rangers scored a total of nine goals in all competitions for 1461 Trabzon on a season-long loan deal. The young striker is on the verge of joining another Turkey team Kasiyaka, who are keen to have him.

UCHE KALU: The Enyimba striker is the toast of Rizespor's fans as his goals have propelled Rizespor to the summit of the league table. Though a nagging knee injury halted his fine run last season, he still finished as the leading scorer in Turkish lower division with nine goals to his credit.

He has signed a new four-year deal with the club after he passed a medical recently.

CHIBUZOR NWOGBO: Relatively unknown Nigerian striker made his name while playing in South Africa National Football division with University of Pretoria where his goals contributed to their promotion to the elite league. He stars for Adanaspor, who he joined last summer.

GIDEON SANI: He is a player of Super Lig side Akhirsarspor and he is now loaned to Turkish second division side, Tavsanli Linyitspor. He started with Izmirspor before he was snapped up by the top division team Akhisar following his displays in the lower league.

SIMON ZENKE: Last season, he returned to Turkey from French club Nancy. He previously featured Samsunspor, where he scored 16 goals to win them promotion to elite division. He is now with Istanbul BB.

TAYE TAIWO: Nigeria left back Taye Taiwo joined the growing list of Nigeria players in Turkey after he signed a three-year deal with Bursaspor. The former Olympique Marseille, QPR, Dynamo Kiev and AC Milan is expected to hit it big in Turkey considering his experience.

CHIBUZOR MADU: Rangers defender Madu joined Karharamamaspor, a second division team this summer.

RAZAQ ADEGBITE: Ex-Rangers forward has joined the list of Nigeria players in Turkey after he signed a two-year deal with Karharamamaspor.

And in the coming weeks, more stars like Mikel Obi, Ikechukwu Uche, Jude Aneke and Nigeria U20 star Umar Aminu could further swell the growing contingent of Nigerians in Turkey.


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