Posted by: westafricanfootball | 10/09/2011


European clubs are often looking for tall, creative midfielders when they are scouting in Africa. Rasheed Olabiyi, one of the most important players at Enyimba FC, is a perfect example of such a player. Olabiyi, born 08.08.1990, is currently starring for the Nigerian top club in the CAF Champions League, which should bring him on the radar of several bigger clubs.

Olabiyi is a product of the so-called Pepsi Football Academy. According to, Olabiyi joined the academy in 1998. When Olabiyi became a teenager, he was one of the biggest talents at the academy. In 2006, Olabiyi was picked for the Nigeria U-17 national football team.

As far as I know, Olabiyi made his debut for Enyimba FC in the Nigeria Premier League 2008-2009. He was a bit in and out of the team during the Nigeria Premier League 2009-2010 as competition was very hard. However, Olabiyi was described as a “midfield jewel” by MTN Football during the season.

During the current season, the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011, Olabiyi has gotten more and more confidence and at the time of writing, he is one of the top prospects at the club.

Olabiyi has been described as a stylish creative midfielder. He is most comfortable as an attacking midfielder / playmaker and many experts compare him to the great Nwankwo Kanu. Olabiyi has also featured in a holding midfield role with success.

MTN Football has previously used big words when describing the lanky midfielder, suggesting that the “rise to the top for this teenaged playmaker… could be described as astronomical.” Olabiyi is good aerially because of his height. He is also a surprisingly good dribbler and he shields the ball very well.

Olabiyi has yet to score his first goal in the Nigeria Premier League and being primarily an attacking midfielder, he should improve his scoring record. However, Olabiyi did score when Enyimba FC knocked out Ocean Boys FC from the Federations Cup earlier this month. He also scored a penalty goal in August 2011 when Enyimba FC played Dolphins FC, also in the Federations Cup.

Olabiyi was a trialist at Greek outfit PAE Asteras Tripolis in November 2010.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some confusion regarding the age of Olabiyi. SMWW Sports Agency has previously represented an attacking midfielder called “Rasheed Olabiyi” born 05.10.1987. Olabiyi is presented as a former member of the Pepsi Football Academy. According to the presentation, Olabiyi had already been in Belgium for trials:

In October 2005, Belgian outfit KVC Westerlo had a Nigerian attacker called “Rasheed Arise Olabiyi” on a trial period. Olabiyi was described as an 18 year old player:

Personally, I honestly don’t know what to believe. I doubt that these are two different players and the readers should basically make up their own minds. In any case, Olabiyi is a young, talented player who deserves attention.

The picture is taken from MTN Football. Olabiyi is the player to the left.


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