Posted by: westafricanfootball | 13/06/2012

ASIEDU ATTOBRAH

Asiedu Attobrah has been one of the revelations of the GLO Premier League 2011-2012. Attobrah, a hard-working midfielder, has just finished his fourth season at New Edubiase United FC, a rather modest side that became number five in the league.

My first record of Attobrah is from the Division One League 2008-2009, the second level of Ghanaian football. In August 2009, Attobrah was part of the team that won promotion to the GLO Premier League 2009-2010. Attobrah made few headlines during his first season at top level.

The following season, the GLO Premier League 2010-2011, proved to be a breakthrough season for Attobrah. Attobrah became an established member of the first team and forced his way into the squad of the Ghana U-17 national football team, the so-called Black Starlets. Attobrah did not score any league goals during the season.

His first ever league goal was scored on 18.12.2011, in Week 12 of the GLO Premier League 2011-2012. Attobrah became a key player for New Edubiase United FC during the season, playing regularly, scoring a total of three league goals and even captaining the side in some matches. Attobrah managed several assists during the season, which benefited top striker Emmanuel Baffour, the leading scorer in the GLO Premier League 2011-2011 with 21 goals.

In May 2012, Attobrah was included in the squad of the Ghana B national football team. Apparently, Attobrah also participated in training sessions with the Ghana U-20 national football during the season. He is not an established member of any national football team at the time of writing.

According to unconfirmed sources, Attobrah is born 15.03.1995. If this is correct, Attobrah was actually 14 years old when he played first team football for New Edubiase United FC.

Attobrah is often found in central midfield or on the right-side of the midfield. He can also play on both wings or as an classical attacking midfielder / playmaker. His work-rate, agressiveness and discipline is truly impressive. Attobrah is the kind of player that never takes a rest. Attobrah also possesses creativity and intelligence. He is known for dictating the pace of the game, knowing exactly when to pass and when to hold up the ball. In fact, Attobrah is pretty much a complete midfield architect.

The following clips shows glimpses of his qualities:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSzY4Ajf7So

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFEHdofBHn8&feature=related

In May 2012, Attobrah was linked to league champions Asante Kotoko FC. It seems likely that Attobrah will join a better club during the summer. The name of Attobrah is often misspelled as “Asiedu Atobrah”, “Asiedu Attobra” or “Asiedu Attorbrah”. The picture was found on Ghanasoccernet.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 09/06/2012

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIAN PREMIER LEAGUE 2012

* Attacker Funsho Alamayo started the season at second level side Ajiroba-Ooni FC, as far as I know without scoring a single league goal. In May 2012, Alamayo joined ABS FC where he has already made his full debut.

* The attacking pair of Abdulrahman Bashir and Andrew Abalogu at ABS FC keeps on impressing. Bashir has scored nine league goals while Abalogu, playing his first ever season at top level, has scored seven.

* Enyimba FC has signed veteran goalkeeper Uche Akubike (born 17.03.1980) from Gombe United FC. Akubike will face tough competition from Godwin Paul (born 16.09.1987), Richard Ocheayi and Chinedu Agwu.

* I recently discovered that Niger Tornadoes FC has signed defender Patrick Sylvester Agada (born 02.12.1990) from Zamfara United FC.

* One of the things that fascinate me about Nigerian football is that a player often comes from practically nowhere and makes a name for himself in a matter of few months. This is definitely the case with striker Yahaya Adamu (born 17.07.1993) from Rising Stars FC. Adamu has scored five league goals for the struggling side between 28.04.2012 and 07.06.2012. The youngster was presented by MTN Football on 08.06.2012 and won the “NPL Star of the Week-award”: http://www.mtnfootball.com/africa/nigeria/premier-league/news/2012/june/08-npl-star-of-the-week-yahaya-adamu.html. The picture of Adamu was found at this page. Adamu is wearing the yellow shirt and the rugged player in white is tough central defender Cyril Oriaku of Rangers International FC, one of the unsung heroes of the Nigeria Premier League.

Adamu played for various amateur clubs before joining the Akure-based side during the mid-season transfer window. I believe he has some sort of connection with Sunshine Stars FC, the top club in Akure.

* On 07.06.2012, youngster Luter Iyorhe scored his first ever league goal for Lobi Stars FC. Iyorhe, an attacking midfielder of striker, had only weeks before been given a professional contract after playing for the club’s reserve team.

* I believe Akwa United FC has signed a player called Moses Opitoke, formerly of second level side Remo FC from Sagamu in southwestern Nigeria.

* On 07.06.2012, petit attacker Jolly Osas (born 30.05.1993) scored his first league goal for Heartland FC. Osas, who can play as a striker, winger or attacking midfielder, played for Shooting Stars FC and Zamfara United FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011. Osas recently scored a hat-trick during the Federations Cup and he is apparently in top form.

* Jigawa Golden Stars FC has played five matches without losing and could be on their way out of trouble. The Hadejia-based side has two good goalkeepers in Henry Anozie and Abdulazeez Adieza. The main defender is Jude Ebitowa, formerly of Ocean Boys FC and Nasarawa United FC. Bala Mohammed (born 04.01.1988) is running the midfield. The former captain of Kano Pillars FC is top scorer with nine league goals. Up front, exciting prospects Noble Anasoh (born 15.07.1989) and John-Paul Chinedu has been wonderful in what I believe is their first ever seasons at top level.

* Lately, Shooting Stars FC has been performing a lot better then in the beginning of the season. Personally, I think this is caused by some smart investments during the mid-season transfer window. Playmaker Philip Asuquo and lanky striker Tony Edjomariegwe (born 01.09.1989), both signed from Kwara United FC, has been revelations. Especially Asuquo, who has been described as a great passer of the ball, an intelligent, combative player and a good marker, has injected quality into the team, forming a great parthership with central midfielder Sola Adeboye, one of the most consistent and praised performers this season.

* I can now confirm that Kwara United FC has signed Cameroonian Mark Kipeh Pangwoh, formerly of Sable FC and the Cameroon U-23 national football team.

* Goalkeeper Kazeem Yekeen (born 01.12.1992) is having a wonderful season for Kwara United FC. I recently discovered that the current backup goalkeeper at the club is Ikhana Azeez (born 18.12.1988), a product of the Pepsi Football Academy.

* Red-hot striker Sibi Gwar (born 09.09.1987) of Niger Tornadoes FC is the current top scorer of the Nigeria Premier League 2012 with 12 league goals. Chikeluba Francis Ofoedu of Rangers International FC and Mohammed Gambo (born 10.03.1988) of Kano Pillars FC has scored 10 goals.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 06/06/2012

LIST OF SCORERS – GLO PREMIER LEAGUE 2011-2012

The GLO Premier League 2011-2012 in Ghana finished on 27.05.2012. In this post, you will find the unofficial list of top scorers. The picture is of Ben Acheampong of Asante Kotoko FC, one of the revelations of the season, and was found on sportslifeghana.com.

21 goals

Emmanuel Baffour (born 02.04.1989 – striker) – New Edubiase United FC

16 goals

Yakubu Mohammed (born 26.07.1990 – striker) – AshantiGold SC

11 goals

Richard Addai (born 27.07.1986 – striker) – Bechem United FC

10 goals

Louis Agyemang (born 04.04.1983 – striker) – Medeama SC

Mahatma Otoo (born 06.02.1992 – striker) – Hearts of Oak SC

8 goals

Mohammed Abdul Basit (born 19.01.1986 – midfielder) – Berekum Chelsea FC

Latif Salifu (born 01.08.1990 – striker) – Liberty Professionals FC

Ahmed Touré (born 17.07.1987 – striker) – Asante Kotoko FC

7 goals

James Kwame Abban (born 31.07.1988 – striker) – Hearts of Oak SC (six goals scored for Liberty Professionals FC)

Seidu Bansi (born 15.05.1990 – striker) – Ebusua Dwarfs

Emmanuel Clottey (born 30.08.1987 – striker) – Berekum Chelsea FC

Abubakar Sidi Soufian (striker) – Mighty Jets FC

6 goals

Kwabena Adusei (born 03.06.1986 – central defender) – Medeama SC

Aaron Amoah (born 07.07.1993 – attacking midfielder) – AshantiGold SC

Francis Narh (striker) – Tema Youth FC

Godfred Saka (born 02.11.1988 – right-back) – Aduana Stars FC

5 goals

Ben Acheampong (born 15.09.1990 – striker) – Asante Kotoko FC

Daniel Nii Adjei (born 29.09.1988 – midfielder) – Asante Kotoko FC

Nathaniel Asamoah (born 22.02.1990 – striker) – Asante Kotoko FC (Asamoah joined Red Star Belgrade in February 2012)

Gilbert Fiamenyoh (born 06.07.1992 – striker) – Heart of Lions FC

Frank Sarfo Gyamfi (winger) – Wa All Stars FC

Didier Florent Guibihi Koré (born 17.04.1989 – midfielder / striker) – AshantiGold SC

Hans Kwofie (born 10.06.1989 – striker) – Medeama SC

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 04/06/2012

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE IVORIAN LIGUE 1 (PART TWO)

* Denguélé d’Odienné is from Denguélé in the northwestern part of the country. The modest club is currently number 4 in “Poule B”. Attackers Zoumana Koné (born 27.10.1991) and Boukari Ousmane Abdoulaye from Niger are star players, together with veteran goalkeeper Missa Noël Tanoh (born 25.12.1974) and defender Kaloulou Sylla (born 01.11.1987). Wingers Mohamed Lamine Comara (born 07.08.1991) and Gouantohou Kaplaka (born 02.03.1990) was brought in from Africa Sports and ASEC Mimosas, respectively.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Boukari Ousmane Abdoulaye 2, Kaloulou Sylla 2, Mohamed Lamine Comara 1, Zoumana Koné 1, Ibrahim Sangalba 1, Komivi Dzimedo Tsogbé 1

* Newly promoted Ecole de Football Yeo Martial, fondly referred to as EFYM, is surprisingly number 2 in “Poule A”. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to find information about the Abidjan-based side.  According to Fédération Ivoirienne de Football, star striker Moryké Fofana (born 23.11.1991) has scored seven goals so far this season. Other key players include goalkeeper Mohamed Kotoko, Fortune Joseph Allangba Brou (born 13.06.1986), Dosso Gouaméné, both former players of SO Armée, attacker Roméo Zahouo Bi, often the captain of the team, and Franck Stephane Mapé (born 24.12.1992).

 * Issia Wazi FC, from the inland city of Issia, is currently rock bottom in “Poule A”. However, when the club signed lively striker Koffi Davy Bouah (born 20.09.1986) from ASEC Mimosas in April, things have looked brighter. Bouah, who failed to break through at ASEC, has scored four times since joining Issia Wazi FC. Kassim Koné (born 11.12.1982), another former player of ASEC, is first choice goalkeeper. Banou Diawara is an interesting striker from Burkina Faso.

* I think Jeunesse Club d’Abidjan looks good this season, currently ranked as number three in “Poule B”. Abdoul Karim Ouattara and Dely Roland Sadia are both experienced goalkeepers. Hamadou Konaté (born 07.02.1983), the former captain of USC Bassam, and Yao Olivier Kouakou (born 11.01.1986), are rock solid defenders. Rouxel Franck Derou (born 20.10.1988) is a great signing from Africa Sports, playing in defensive midfield. Nigerian midfielder Michael Ogundina (born 06.07.1984) has been a key player for more than six seasons.

Bommanin Peggy Kohouo, formerly of Africa Sports FC, has been a revelation up front. Kohouo is often playing together with Ya Thomas Ronardo Gonazo Bi (born 30.12.1990). Experienced strikers Mihan Bosson (born 20.02.1987) and Armand Boly (born 18.11.1975) are great players to have in the squad.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Bommanin Peggy Kohouo 4, Ya Thomas Ronardo Gonazo Bi 2, Patrick Kalu Kalu 2, Rouxel Franck Derou 1, Yao Olivier Kouakou 1, Mian Serge Pacome Kumassi 1

* ASC Ouragahio, currently rock bottom in “Poule B”, is from the inland city of Ouragahio. Romuald Kouadio Akissé and Mohamed Siby (born 19.11.1987) shares the goalkeeping responsibilities. Jean Serge Sery Dogo (born 01.02.1981) is the captain of the team and a key player in ASCO’s attacking play. He is sometimes partnered with veteran striker Michel Zate Kagba (born 20.12.1981).

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Jean Serge Sery Dogo 3, Djessekan Seoulou 2, Davy Beazo 1, Yaya Koné 1, Michel Zate Kagba 1

* Séwé Sport, based in San Pédro, the port city in the southwestern parts of the country, is currently leading “Poule A”, five points before EFYM. Goalkeeper Guelassiognon Sylvain Gbohouo has been brilliant. Kouadio Yobouet (born 25.12.1988), Mahan Marc Goua (born 02.11.1989) and talented youngster Ousmane Adama Ouattara (born 22.12.1993) are important for the impressive defensive record of the team. The creative Kabran Stevens Koffi Foba (born 12.08.1989) and the consistent Souleymane Dembélé runs the midfield.  Séwé has sone of the most interesting attackers in the league, including Roger Assalé (born 13.11.1993), Mandela Ocansey (born 02.02.1990) from Burkina Faso and petit striker Koelly Kevin Zougoula (born 20.03.1984).

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Kabran Stevens Koffi Foba 3, Koelly Kevin Zougoula 3, Roger Assalé 1, Souleymane Dembélé 1, Mandela Ocansey 1

* Stella Club d’Adjamé, based in Abidjan, has been one of the disappointments of the season, currently number 5 in “Poule A”. However, there are several quality players in the squad. Vagne Kobenan and Christophe Aifimi are good goalkeepers. Tiécoura Coulibaly (born 04.05.1988) is arguably the best left-back in the league. Ever-green Jean-Baptiste Oulaï is leading the defence together with Dape Marius Gnabouyou (born 08.12.1988). Fousseny Coulibaly (born in 1990) is a tall, hard-working holding midfielder, usually fighting side by side with Mohamed Kaba. Newly signed midfielder Daniel Akuffo (born 05.05.1990) has made a bright start to his career in Ivorian football. Experienced right-winger Raphaël Yabré from Burkina Faso has been performing well all season. Jacques Alain Tanoh (born 16.09.1987) has had a terrible season. The quick striker is usually a clinical finisher but he has yet to score this season. Strongman Koré Maixent Zagré (born 06.04.1986) has also been mostly shooting blanks.

The picture is of Tiécoura Coulibaly and was found on mybestplay.com.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Daniel Akuffo 2, Raphaël Yabré 2, Tiécoura Coulibaly 1, Kouamé Martial N’Goran 1, Koré Maixent Zagré 1

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 03/06/2012

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE IVORIAN LIGUE 1 (PART ONE)

* ASI Abengourou is currently number 4 in “Poule A”. ASI is from Abengourou, a city with about 120 000 inhabitants in the eastern parts of the Ivory Coast. ASI is definitely the most difficult team to find information about. At the time of writing, I can only document that three players have featured in the league so far; defender Lamoudja Traoré (born 20.12.1987), formerly of ASC Ouragahio, experienced striker Blaise Tanoh Koffi (born 03.04.1982) and the talented Sana Soro.

Tanoh Koffi played for South African side Lamontville Golden Arrows FC in 2009-2010. Soro is an interesting player, most likely born in 1991. In October / November 2011, Soro was part of the Ivory Coast B national football team for the 2011 UEMOA Tournament.

* AFAD Djékanou, the current leaders of “Poule B”, is having a wonderful season. Later this year, AFAD will be participating in the group stage of the 2012 CAF Confederations Cup. AFAD is playing their home matches in Abidjan.

There are so many interesting players in this youthful team. Clovis Tahourou (born 25.12.1989) is widely considered as the best goalkeeper in the league. Kouakou Mansou (born 10.05.1991) is a quality player at the right-back or the right-wing. The promising Henri Joël Kouadio Konan (born 20.10.1993) is often found on left-back or the left-wing. Bobley Anderson Allegne (born 03.03.1992) and Sanga Topio Coulibaly (born 17.08.1988) are two of the most creative midfielders in the league. Skillful attacker Yannick Zakri (born 26.03.1991) is one of the top strikers in the country.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

N’Dri Fabrice Kouadio 6, Yannick Zakri 4, Bobley Anderson Allegne 3, Kouakou Mansou 2, Henri Joël Kouadio Konan 1, Souleymane Ouattara 1, Jean Jorès Zougouri 1

* Africa Sports FC from Abidjan, historically one of the best teams in the country, is struggling, currently ranked as number 6 in “Poule A”. This is somewhat of a surprise to me as the team looks strong on paper. Christian Fabrice Okoua (born 06.11.1991) is the talented first-choice goalkeeper. He versatile Ben Adama Banh, left-back Konan Ruffin N’Gouan (born 15.05.1990), central defender Kouassi Nicaise N’Goran (born 08.02.1988) and central defender Soumaila Belem are all quality players at this level. Belem is currently part of the Burkina Faso national football team. Dalla Coulibaly (born 28.05.1987) is leading the midfield together with enterprising winger Serge Kouakou (born 02.02.1989). Up front, Nigerian striker Patrick Friday Eze (born 22.12.1992) and Tiémoko Konaté (born in 1990) are both considered as huge talents. Koffi Kan Tobie Olie (born 22.09.1984), formerly of Zamalek (Egypt) and AS Salé (Morocco) and Sekou Timité (born 11.05.1985), formerly of Olympique Beja (Tunisia) and FC Winterthur (Switzerland), are both experienced attackers. However, the attacking play of the team has not been working at all.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Tiémoko Konaté 4, Leoh Digbeu 1, Koffi Kan Tobie Olie 1, Abdoul Sory Soumahoro 1

* Société Omnisports de l’Armée, mostly called SO Armée or SOA, is the top club in Yamoussoukro, the political capital of the Ivory Coast. The season has so far been a disappointment and the club is currently number 6 in “Poule B”. The backbone of the team consists of four experienced players; goalkeeper Guyan Kanté, defender Lamine Sogodogo (born 17.12.1987), attacking midfielder Antoine N’Gossan (born 30.11.1990) and goalpoacher Didier Brossou Kpéhi (born 29.05.1984), famous for scoring 17 league goals for Sabé Sports in 2009. Interestingly, all four players have previously played for ASEC Mimosas. A few years ago, N’Gossan was widely regarded as one of the biggest talents in the country. In 2008, he participated for the Ivory Coast U-23 national football team during the Olympics in China. From my point of view, central defender Kouadio Kevin Kouamé (born 31.12.1992), playmaker Simon Kangoh, right-winger Issoumaïla Lingane (born 15.03.1991) from Burkina Faso and young target man Jacob Philippe Okan Agoussi (born 23.12.1995) are the players to watch. Okan Agoussi was a trialist at Lillestrøm SK (Norway) earlier this year. Hermann Kouao (born 31.12.1989), who played for Stade d’Abidjan last season, is the current top scorer.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Hermann Kouao 4, Jacob Philippe Okan Agoussi 3, Didier Brossou Kpéhi 2, Issoumaïla Lingane 1, Pierre Hervé M’Bena 1, Antoine N’Gossan 1

* ASEC Mimosas, world famous for developing talented players, looks surprisingly weak this season. The Abidjan-based powerhouse of Ivorian football is currently number 2 in “Poule B” but their performances have not been impressive. Tiasse Koné (born 11.11.1981) started the season as first choice goalkeeper but has lately lost his place to Sylvain Komenan (born 20.12.1982). Robert Sankara (born 18.02.1985), a full international player for Burkina Faso, and Junior Salomon (born 04.08.1986), a full international player for Benin, and Zahui Okou (born 11.06.1988), have played well in the heart of the defence. Look out for youngster Aboubacar Ouattara (born 14.04.1993), a promising centre-back.

One of the bright spots of the season has been defensive midfielder Michel Mvondo (born 09.11.1992) from Cameroon, formerly of Astres Douala. Together with Ghanaian Mark Sekyere (born 28.12.1989) and Hugues Evrad Zagbayou (born 14.05.1990), Mvondo forms a strong midfield. Ghanaian Abdul Ganiyu Iddi (born 23.10.1987) is currently out of form but he started well at the right side of midfield. Iddi is a former player of KV Mechelen (Belgium). The petit attacking midfielder Jean Michael Séry (born 19.07.1991) is arguably the most exciting prospect at the club.

Top striker Samba Diabaté (born 31.01.1986) scored regularly for Stella Club d’Adjamé but two league goals in 10 matches is not good enough. However, his latest performances indicate improvement. Expectations were also high for Ladji Tiezan Koné (born 15.05.1989), one of the top performers of Séwé Sport last season. Josué Alex Aguié (born 11.01.1987) was a big-name signing in April but the journeyman striker, formerly of RSC Anderlecht (Belgium) and Olympique Safi (Morocco), has not impressed at all.

Here is the list of scorers after 10 matches:

Samba Diabaté 2, Abdul Ganiyu Iddi 2, Yao Yves Ablakor 1, Koffi Davy Bouah 1, Jean-Jacques Bougouhi 1, Zahui Okou 1, Jean Michael Séry 1

* USC Bassam, based in the south eastern city of Grand-Bassam, is currently number 3 in “Poule A”. USCB has one of the hottest strikers in the country in Louis Philippe Anobile (born 16.11.1989). According to Fédération Ivoirienne de Football, Anobile has scored 10 goals in 10 matches this season. Anobile has developed a strong partnership with Ghanaian striker Edem Kouamé Akrofi (born 18.07.1990). Lanky midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim Diaby (born 02.04.1990) is another key player.

Defender Bienvenu Aipo, midfielder Landry Digbeu and playmaker Mory Samaké, all new signings from Club Omnisports Cyrille Domoraud, participated for the Ivory Coast B national football team during the 2011 UEMOA Tournament in October / November 2011. At the time, Aipo was 23 years old while Digbeu and Samaké were 21 years old.

* ES Bingerville, from Bingerville in south eastern Ivory Coast, is newly promoted and currently number 5 in “Poule B”. ESB recently made a wonderful signing in experienced goalkeeper Aristide Zogbo (born 30.12.1981), formerly of Maccabi Netanya FC (Israel). Zogbo has played several matches for the Ivory Coast national football team. Zogbo will compete against Jean Malick Hortalin Blé Zadi, who participated for the Ivory Coast B national football team during the 2011 UEMOA Tournament in October / November 2011.

From my point of view, Inza Diabaté (born 20.05.1992) is the player to watch. Diabaté, formerly of ASEC Mimosas, was the top scorer in the Ligue 2 last season. Other key players from last season are Nabi Koné (defender), Hadda Zongo (attacking midfielder) from Burkina Faso, Patrick Bini Kouman Koffi (defender), Fiacre Lopez Tohoua (defender), Yaya Diomandé (midfielder), Marius Okpekon Yacé (midfielder) and Jean Patrick Dogui (attacker). Tall striker Jean Iméré Yao Krizo (born 25.10.1988) has yet to blossom.

The picture is of goalkeeper Zogbo and was found on fifa.com.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 01/06/2012

GLO PREMIER LEAGUE 2011-2012 – THE TEAM OF THE SEASON

The Ghanaian GLO Premier League 2011-2011 was finalized on 27.05.2012. Based on matches I’ve seen, reports I’ve read and hearsay from contacts, I have picked my “Team of the season”.

GOALKEEPER

ABDOULAYE SOULAMA

Club: Asante Kotoko FC

DOB: 29.11.1974

* Last season, veteran goalkeeper Soulama played only three matches for Asante Kotoko FC. This season, Soulama, who will turn 38 later this year, has been first choice, playing 24 matches. MTN Football recently wrote that Soulama conceded 12 goals in 26 matches. In any case, Soulama deserves a lot of credit for Kotoko’s defensive record, the second best in the league. Soulama, who recently was yet again picked for the Stallions, the Burkina Faso national football team, is a very confident goalkeeper with plenty of experience. I’m impressed with Soulama’s ability to pick out crosses and despite his relatively high age, he is an excellent shot stopper. Soulama played professionally for Denizlispor (Turkey) during the seasons 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.

LEFT-BACK

RICHARD KISSI BOATENG

Club: Berekum Chelsea FC

DOB: 25.11.1988

* After an unsuccessful stint in Libya for Al-Ittihad Club Tripoli, Boateng returned to Ghana and Berekum Chelsea FC. From Week 7, Boateng has been first choice at left-back and his performances have been consistent and highly impressive. Boateng is a disciplined player with bravery and aggression. He loves to join the attack on overlapping runs. Boateng, who scored one league goal during the season, broke through at Liberty Professionals FC.

CENTRAL DEFENDER

GODWIN OSEI BONSU

Club: Hearts of Oak SC

DOB: 03.03.1989

* Strong as a bull, tough in the tackles and almost impossible to beat in the air. Godwin Osei Bonsu, the captain of Hearts of Oak SC, has arguably been the top performer at the Phobians. Bonsu scored two league goals during the season.

CENTRAL DEFENDER

HENRY OHENE BRENYA

Club: Asante Kotoko FC

DOB: 04.05.1985

* I guess most experts would rate Mohammed Awal as a better player than Henry Ohene Brenya, his partner in the central defence of Asante Kotoko FC. That could very well be, but from my point of view, Brenya has been somewhat more consistent. I love the quiet, effective performances of the Kokoto-captain. Brenya rarerly causes any headlines but he is always playing with the heart on his sleeve.

Brenya was a key player for Berekum Arsenal FC before joining Kotoko before the GLO Premier League 2010-2011. Brenya did not score any goals during the current season but as far as I know, he was ever present in the heart of the defence for the league champions.

RIGHT-BACK

GODFRED SAKA

Club: Aduana Stars FC

DOB: 02.11.1988

* It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the impressive right-back Godfred Saka of Aduana Stars FC. Saka, an expert from set pieces, rather sensationally became top scorer of the team with six league goals. Saka is known for his cultured right-foot, his dangerous free-kicks and crosses and his tireless work up and down the right side. Saka is one of these fabulous West African full-backs with heavy emphasis on attack. Saka has great stamina combined with power and intelligence.

LEFT-WINGER

RICHARD MPONG

Club: Medeama SC

DOB: 04.07.1990

* On 29.02.2012, petit winger Richard Mpong made a goalscoring debut for the Black Stars, the Ghana national football team, in a friendly match against Chile. Mpong, a former player of Gamba All Blacks FC and Kessben FC, is a very exciting player to watch, known for his dribbling skills, pace and good passing ability. Mpong is not a typical goalscorer (he scored only once during the season) but his crosses, especially towards pointmen Louis Agyemang and Hans Kwofie, are valuable to the attacking play of Medeama SC. Medeama SC has been a disappointment this season but Mpong has been wonderful in several matches. Mpong can play both at left-wing and right-wing.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER

MICHAEL AKUFFO

Club: Asante Kotoko FC

DOB: 18.12.1985

* From my point of view, Akuffo is one of the easiest picks. The box-to-box midfielder has been simply brilliant in the center of the park. Akuffo is a dynamic, hard-working player with both defensive and attacking qualities. His stamina, tackles and passes are top-shelf. Akuffo is a product of the Feyenoord Academy and has also played for ASEC Mimosas in the Ivory Coast. In 2009 and 2010, Akuffo played for Finnish second level side FC PoPa.

Akuffo has almost been ever present this season and has scored four league goals.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER

ABUBAKAR MORO

Club: Hearts of Oak SC

DOB: 07.08.1991

* Moro, a midfield workhorse, has developed into a key player for Hearts of Oak SC. Moro has primarily defensive responsibilities and his hard work is fundamental for the balance of the team. Moro is reportedly on the radar of several clubs in Ghana, including Medeama SC and Berekum Chelsea FC. If Moro is able to develop his creativity and passing ability, he will become a quality player. As far as I know, Moro has only missed one match all season. He has not scored any goals.

RIGHT-WINGER

ASIEDU ATTOBRAH

Club: New Edubiase United FC

DOB: 15.03.1995

* Hard-tackling midfielder Attobrah has been one of the revelations of the season. Most sources will say that Attobrah is only 17 years old and despite his young age, he has actually been captaining Edubiase during the season. Attobrah has been described as a player who has “a gift for recycling possession and dictating the pace undimmed”. Personally, I have always liked his tireless work and aggressiveness. Attobrah is also a player with attacking qualities, having scored three league goals during the season. According to some rumors, Attobrah will shortly join Asante Kotoko FC. Attobrah, arguably one of the most interesting prospects in the league, has been part of the Ghana U-17 and the Ghana U-20 national football team. Attobrah can play both as a central midfielder and a right-winger. The picture is of Attobrah and was found on Ghanasoccernet.

STRIKER

EMMANUEL BAFFOUR

Club: New Edubiase United FC

DOB: 02.04.1989

* Baffour is a rather obvious choice for the team of the season, especially since he was named as “Premiership Player of the Year” by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana. Baffour scored an incredible tally of 21 goals in about 25 matches for the rather modest side New Edubiase United FC, making him top scorer in the GLO Premier League 2011-2012. It’s been a fairytale season for the sharp-shooting striker, known for being an all-round player with no particular weaknesses. Baffour is strong, fast and skillful, with decent dribbling abilities. Baffour made his debut for the Black Stars, the Ghana national football team, during the season. Former clubs include Liberty Professionals FC and Tema Youth FC. Baffour will most likely play in a bigger league next season. According to unconfirmed sources, New Edubiase United FC will sell their star player for USD 1 000 000.

STRIKER

YAKUBU MOHAMMED

Club: AshantiGold SC

DOB: 26.07.1990

* Burly striker Mohammed, known for his physical strength and his direct style of play, is one of my favourite players in the GLO Premier League. This is the kind of player who is able to form an attack practically on his own. Mohammed had a difficult start to the season, scoring only once in his 10 first matches. However, from Week 12 to Week 30, Mohammed scored 15 goals, making his total record for the season an impressive 16 goals. I think Mohammed deserves a chance in a bigger league.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 27/05/2012

THE NIGERIA U-20 NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM

The Nigeria U-20 national football team will most likely be eliminated from the Cape Town U-20 International friendly tournament after losing to both Ghana U-20 and Argentina U-20. Based on their squad for the tournament, I am not very surprised. To be honest, this is the weakest Flying Eagles squad I have ever seen. A friend, who is a scout, is witnessing the tournament and described the Nigerian team as “horrible”. He suggested that no player from worth following after the tournament. These are perhaps harsh words but personally, I cannot understand how the Nigeria Football Federation can put together a squad consisting of fringe players and reserve players from Nigerian Premier League clubs, unknown players from second and third level clubs and even unattached players.

I guess about 1/3 of all players in the Nigeria Premier League is (supposedly) under 20 years old and if these 25 players are the best of the best, I am worried about the future of Nigerian football.

To be fair, I guess some of the best clubs in Nigeria could have denied their best U-20 players to participate in the tournament. The teams in Nigeria are playing a lot of matches in May and many coaches will probably dislike to lose key players to a friendly tournament.

According to the official homepage of the tournament, http://www.8nationschallenge.com/, this is the official squad:

OKANI  / CHUKWUNENYE SAMUEL

OYEDIRAN / LEKAN YUSUF

INNOCENT / SIMON

PATRICK/ KINGSLEY ONYEBUCHI

GERO / SALIU ABDULLAHI

ORKUMA / MOSES

ANAEZEMBA / NZUBE PIUS

SHEHU / ABDULLAHI

OKORIE / IKECHUKWU

IZUEGBU / ABONIMA BONIFACE

OMEROU / LUCKY

UMAR / AMINU

FREDRICK / OBOMATE ANABRABA

OLA / TAIYE

CHRISTIAN / JOSIAH OBINNA

AGBO / UCHE HENRY

SAIDU / ABDULLAHI MOHAMMED

IDRIS / HABU

AMAEFULE / CHIZOBA JOHNBUSCO

ALIMI / SIKIRU ADEWALE

EZENWAKA / NNADOZIE UGONNA

WILLIAMS / JACOB ABOBO

BRAYE / BROWN

ALUKO / TOLULOPE SAMUEL

BINUYO / LOOKMAN A. KADIRI

In this post, I will write a short profile on all players in the squad.

SAMUEL OKANI

Club: Jigawa Golden Stars FC or Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Okani is a petit goalkeeper who is totally unknown to me. His full name is either “Chukwunonye Samuel Okani” or “Chukwunenye Samuel Okani”. To be honest, I am a bit confused by this player. In April 2012, Okani was playing for Jigawa Golden Stars FC according to MTN Football, Complete Sports Nigeria, and most other sources. However, MTN Football recently wrote that Okani is playing for Enyimba FC. In any case, I have never heard of this player and if he is playing for Enyimba FC, he is most likely miles away from the first team. Okani was team captain when Nigeria U-20 lost 2-3 against Ghana U-20 on 25.05.2012. Apparently, Okani had a good game. According to some sources, Okani was one of the smallest players on the field.

LEKAN OYEDIRAN

Club: Ajiroba-Ooni FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Oyediran, sometimes referred to as “Yusuf Oyediran”, is a goalkeeper playing at second level side Ajiroba-Ooni FC, based in Ilé-Ifè in south-western Nigeria.

SIMON INNOCENT

Club: Niger Tornadoes FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Attacker / Defender

* Innocent has played regularly for Niger Tornadoes FC this season but has not caught any headlines and he has yet to score his first top level goal. Confusingly, Innocent is referred to as a defender by some sources but as an attacker by most sources.

PATRICK KINGSLEY

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Right-back / Central midfielder

* Kingsley, sometimes referred to as “Patrick Kingsley Onyebuchi”, has been a fringe player at Sharks FC for the last couple of seasons. According to 2muchsports, Kingsley is born 13.04.1987. It is difficult to say whether this is the correct date of birth.

ALHAJI GERO

Club: Rangers International FC

DOB: 10.10.1993

Position: Striker

* Gero is a big and strong centre-forward. Alhaji played 14 matches without scoring a goal for Kaduna United FC before he joined Rangers during the mid-season transfer window. Gero has scored two league goals since joining the current leaders of the Nigeria Premier League. I think it is fair to say that Gero is one of the most interesting players in the Nigerian squad. My friend, who watched Gero when against both Ghana U-20 and Argentina U-20, described him as a powerful but rather clumsy player.

MOSES ORKUMA

Club: Lobi Stars FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central midfielder

* I have to admit that I was surprised to find Orkuma’s name in the squad list. In March 2011, Orkuma gave an interview to Daily Trust, explaining that he was born on 19.07.1990:

http://sundaytrust.com.ng/?option=com_content&view=article&id=6426&catid=7&Itemid=113

However, according to 2muchsports, Orkuma is born 19.06.1993. In any case, Orkuma is a good player, described as a “lion-hearted playmaker”. It is difficult to define which of the two that is the correct date of birth. Orkuma is rather petit, but he uses his strength well, working hard and never letting his opponent rest. Orkuma has scored two league goals so far this season.

NZUBE ANAEZEMBA

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Left-winger

* Last season, Anaezemba won promotion with Rising Stars FC before joining Enyimba FC before the Nigeria Premier League 2012. Anaezemba has scored two league goals so far this season and has made several impressive performances. The tricky winger can also play as a support striker. I would rate Anaezemba as one of the most interesting players in the squad.

ABDULLAHI SHEHU

Club: Kano Pillars FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central midfielder

* Most experts thought Shehu would be a key player during the tournament. Pillars signed Shehu from Plateau United FC before the current season and the youngster has been largely impressive for the title-chasers from Kano. Shehu, an athletic and elegant player, has yet to score a goal for his new club, but scored twice for Plateau United FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011.

IKECHUKWU OKORIE

Club: Kaduna United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central defender / Defensive midfielder

* Okorie is yet another unknown player to me. He scored two penalty goals against Kwara United FC on 13.05.2012 and has featured regularly for Kaduna United FC this season. A player called “Ikechukwu Okorie” was part of the Nigeria U-23 national football team in 2007, most likely a different player.

ABONIMA IZUEGBU

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: 27.11.1994

Position: Central defender / Defensive midfielder

* Izuegbu is a strong and versatile player. Izuegbu, often referred to as Abonima Arinze Izuegbu, has been impressive for second level side 36 Lions FC. Apparently, Izuegbu has recently joined Sharks FC.

LUCKY OMEROU

Club: Bayelsa United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Winger / Attacking midfielder

* Promising player at second level side Bayelsa United FC where he has scored two goals this season.

AMINU UMAR

Club: Wikki Tourists FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker / Winger

* Umar has scored one league goal for Wikki Tourists FC this season, as far as I know his first season at top level. Umar is a promising striker. The picture is of Umar and was found on MTN Football.

FREDRICK OBOMATE

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender / Midfielder

* Obomate is an unknown player to me. He is most likely playing for the reserves of Sharks FC in Port Harcourt.

TAIYE OLA  

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Ola is a fringe player at Enyimba FC, not playing regularly for the first team. However, I know that Ola is highly regarded at the club and he is probably a player to look out for in the future. According to 2muchsports, Ola is born 14.04.1995.

CHRISTIAN JOSIAH

Club: C.O.D United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker

* Somewhat of a mystery man to me. City of David United FC, mostly referred to as C.O.D United FC, has a great homepage and I am not able to find any player called “Christian Josiah” in their list of players or in their line-up from the first seven matches of the season. I am not able to find a player called “Christian Josiah” in their list of scorers from the next seven matches either. However, according to unconfirmed sources, a “Christian Josiah” has scored a couple of goals for C.O.D United FC during the FA Cup earlier this season.

UCHE AGBO

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Attacking midfielder

* Enyimba FC signed Agbo from JUTH FC before the current season. According to 2muchsports, Agbo is born in 1991, making him too old for the Nigeria U-20 national football team. According to http://foetbal247.wordpress.com/category/fresh-blood/, Agbo is born 30.01.1991. In any case, Agbo is an elegant midfielder who has done well for Enyimba FC. He has scored one goal so far this season. Agbo is a former player of FC Taraba.

IDRIS HABU

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Unknown

* Habu scored one league goal for Gombe United FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011. I have no record of the player from the current season. According to 2muchsports, Habu is born 12.10.1993.

CHIZOBA AMAEFULE

Club: Remo FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender

* Amaefule was a fringe player at Sharks FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011. According to 2muchsports, he is born 28.10.1993. Amaefule is currently playing for second level side Remo FC, based in Sagamu in southwestern Nigeria.

ABDULLAHI SAIDU

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Completely unknown player to me.

SIKIRU ALIMI

Club: Union Bank FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker

* Sikiru, a completely unknown player to me, is apparently playing at third level of Nigerian football.

UGONNA EZENWAKA

Club: Ocean Boys FC

DOB: 18.01.1992

Position: Midfielder

* Ezenwaka, the midfield general of struggling Ocean Boys FC, is probably one of the best players in the squad. I have previously presented Ezenwaka in my post from 17.05.2012:

http://westafricanfootball.com/2012/05/17/ugonna-ezenwaka/

Ezenwaka has already turned 20 so I was a bit surprised to find him in a Nigeria U-20 squad.

JACOB ABOBO WILLIAMS

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Williams is one of the backup goalkeepers in the squad. He is completely unknown to me and apparently unattached at the time of writing.

BROWN BRAYE

Club: Nembe City FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender

* Braye, sometimes referred to as “Brown Braye Okpus”, is apparently playing for Nembe City FC at second level of Nigerian football.

TOLU ALUKO

Club: FRSC Strikers FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central defender / Left-back

* Aluko is playing at second level of Nigerian football for FRSC Strikers FC. Apparently, he had a terrible game at left-back when Nigeria U-20 lost 2-3 against Ghana U-20 on 25.05.2012. His full name is “Tolulope Samuel Aluko”.

BINAYO LUKMAN

Club: Union Bank FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Lukman, a completely unknown player to me, is apparently playing at third level of Nigerian football.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 26/05/2012

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGERIA PREMIER LEAGUE 2012

* Musa Najare (born 16.01.1992) made several impressive performances for Akwa United FC earlier this season. The talented youngster, mostly used as a left-winger or a striker, has recently joined Warri Wolves FC. Najare, formerly of Rangers International FC, scored his first goal for Wolves on 20.05.2012.

* On 20.05.2012, a player called “Ada Adama” scored for Akwa United FC against Sharks FC. I believe this is Adama Ada Odey (born 23.01.1986), formerly of Heartland FC. Odey is a utility player, often found on the left side of the attack. He has been described as a player with an impressive work rate on the flanks.

* Powerful striker Ismaila Gata recently joined Shooting Stars FC. Gata made his top level debut in November 2010 and has already played for four top level clubs: Bukola Babes FC, Kwara United FC, Enyimba FC and Shooting Stars FC. His goalscoring record shows three goals – one for Bukola Babes FC and two for Kwara United FC, all scored during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011.

* In December 2011, Nigerian media reported that attacking midfielder Emmanuel Bivan had left Kaduna United FC and joined second level side FC Taraba. Bivan is now back at Kaduna United FC.

* Has Cameroonian striker Mark Kipeh Pangwoh joined Kwara United FC? Pangwoh, formerly of Sable FC, was presented in my post from 29.03.2011:

http://westafricanfootball.com/2011/03/29/mark-kipeh-pangwoh/

* Lazarus Chukwu has left Lobi Stars FC and teamed up with his former club Warri Wolves FC. Chukwu is a hard-working midfielder with a healthy goalscoring record.

* Rangers International FC is the current leaders of the Nigeria Premier League and much has been written about their strong attack, consisting of Chikeluba Francis Ofoedu, top scorer in the league with 10 goals, the hard working Efe Yarhere (born 27.04.1988) who has scored six goals and Ifeanyi Ede (born 05.12.1990), who has scored three goals since joining Rangers in April from Enyimba FC. However, I believe goalkeeper Godwin Ayalogu and central defenders James Okwuosa (born 14.09.1990) and Cyril Oriaku deserves attention as well. All three players has been consistent performers this season. In my opinion, Okwuosa is ready for bigger leagues.

* Rising Stars FC is rock bottom in the Nigeria Premier League but won’t give up without a fight. The Akure-based side recently signed experienced striker Clement Bisong, formerly of Orlando Pirates FC and Dynamos FC from South Africa. Bisong was part of the Nigeria U-23 national football team in 2007.

* Bulldozing striker Dele Olorundare of Sunshine Stars FC is one of the hottest players in the Nigeria Premier League at the time of writing. Olorundare, formerly of FC Abuja and Nasarawa United FC, has scored seven goals so far this season.

* Here is an unofficial list of scorers so far in the Nigeria Premier League 2012. Please note that there are some confusion regarding several goals scored and other sources will probably report different figures.

10 goals

Chikeluba Francis Ofoedu – Rangers International FC

9 goals 

Mustapha Babadidi – Gombe United FC

Mohammed Gambo – Kano Pillars FC

8 goals

Rabiu Ali – Kano Pillars FC

Sibi Gwar – Niger Tornadoes FC

Bala Mohammed – Jigawa Golden Stars FC

Sani Sanusi – Gombe United FC

7 goals

Andrew Abalogu – ABS FC

Abdulrahman Bashir – ABS FC

Bright Ejike – Sharks FC

Dele Olorundare – Sunshine Stars FC

6 goals

Segun Alebiosu – Kwara United FC

Jafar Buhari – Kaduna United FC

Azuka Ebinum – Warri Wolves FC (5 goals scored for Niger Tornadoes FC)

Josiah Maduabuchi – Enyimba FC

Godfrey Oboabona – Sunshine Stars FC

Efe Yarhere – Rangers International FC

The picture is of Cyril Oriaku of Rangers International FC and Lazarus Chukwu of Warri Wolves FC and was found on MTN Football.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 22/05/2012

SEGUN ALEBIOSU

Youngster Segun Alebiosu of Kwara United FC has been one of the revelations of the Nigeria Premier League 2012. At the time of writing, Alebiosu has scored six league goals, which is quite impressive for a rookie at top level at Nigerian football. Alebiosu is top scorer at Kwara United FC with two goals more than experienced striker Kabiru Sanusi.

In February 2012, Segun Atere, team captain of Kwara United FC, tipped Alebiosu as a player who could excel in the Nigeria Premier League. Alebiosu was described as a “hardworking youngster who was discovered last season in Ilorin”. Atere added that Alebiosu “has all it takes to be a great player”.

In March 2012, respectable webpage Completesportsnigeria described Alebiosu as a player who had “impressed massively” during the season.

In April 2012, MTN Football named Alebiosu as one of 10 players from the Nigeria Premier League that was “good enough to take their trade to Europe”. Alebiosu was described as a strong player who plays a direct game. Later the same month, Kwara United manager Tunde Sanni described Alebiosu as “the revelation of the season”.

Alebiosu has been training with the Nigeria U-17 national football team during the season. In May 2012, Alebiosu was excluded from the team as the Nigeria Football Federation decided that all players from the Nigeria Premier League were ruled out. Apparently, this decision was taken as a method to prevent age cheating. It should be pointed out that there are no evidence indicating that Alebiosu is more than 17 years old.

From my point of view, Alebiosu is obviously a player to watch. It is still too early to predict a bright future in Nigerian football for Alebiosu, but his career has gotten a flying start.

Posted by: westafricanfootball | 20/05/2012

MORYKÉ FOFANA

The Abidjan-based side Ecole de Football Yéo Martial, mostly referred to as EFYM,  has been one of the surprise packages in the Ivorian Ligue 1 2012. The newly promoted side is currently number 2 in the “Poule A” of the Ivorian championship, which few would have guessed before the season. The big star of EFYM is argubaly striker Moryké Fofana. Fofana is a rather unknown player who has caught headlines lately after some brilliant performances. Ivorian media has described Fofana as the most prominent player so far this season and according to unconfirmed sources, both ASEC Mimosas and Africa Sports are hoping to get his signature.

It is not easy to find information about Fofana. My first record of the player is from the Ivorian Ligue 1 2009. Fofana, who was described as a young, talented player at the time, was part of the EFYM-team that was relegated. As far as I know, Fofana did not score any goals. Interestingly, Fofana was playing alongside Tiémoko Konaté, currently the most exciting prospect at Africa Sports.

As far as I know, Fofana played for EFYM at second level of Ivorian football in 2010 and 2011. I believe he was the top scorer at EFYM in 2011.

His return to the top flight has been sensational and according to Fédération Ivoirienne de Football, Fofana has scored seven league goals so far this season, making him one of the top scorers in the country.

Fofana is born 23.11.1991 and is therefore 20 years old at the time of writing. He has been described as a skilful player with a great physical presence, making him difficult to beat in duels. In fact, Fofana’s style of play has been compared to Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o.

Fofana’s name is sometimes written “Moriké Fofana”.

I look forward to follow Fofana’s development in coming years. I expect him to leave EFYM during the season or after the season and hopefully his talent will be nurtured further at his next club, most likely one of the powerhouses of Ivorian football.

The picture is of players from EFYM and was found on news24.ci.

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