Nigeria's Quartet Find Succour At Kiev


Nigerian footballers have now found a new abode in the Ukrainian Football League, with the arrival of Super Eagles left back, Taye Taiwo who joined three other Nigerians at Dynamo Kiev of Football Club.

Taiwo, who once played for Gabros International Football Club of Nnewi and Lobi Stars of Makurdi, recently signed a loan deal at Kiev to team up with his compatriots: Yusuf Ayila, Lukman Haruna and Brown Ideye.

Notably, Lucky Idahor also played for the same club between 2000 and 2003 season, meaning that the club have seen something good in Nigerian players.

“I know them (the Nigerians at Kiev now) from the national team set-up. I have been friends with Yusuf Ayila for several years. That makes it a lot easier for me to settle down here,” Taiwo said shortly after he sealed his loan move from AC Milan.

The quartet of Taiwo, Ayila, Lukman and Ideye were part of Nigeria’s squad to the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa, where the Super eagles crashed out in the first round.

Taiwo, 27, joined Milan from Marseille last summer but struggled for a regular first-team shirt, spending the second half of the campaign on loan at Premier League club, Queens Park Rangers, QPR.

After being edged out in the pre-season at Milan, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist, opted to join his country men at Dynamo Kiev apparently to get enough playing time.

According to him: “Coming to  Ukraine is a great opportunity for me to earn a regular first-team place. I know Milan are a big club but I am not a player who is happy to sit on the bench doing nothing to receive salary. My job is play football.

“I’ve considered a lot of things and I realised going elsewhere for regular football is greater than a life on the Milan bench.”

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Dynamo Kiev were also given an option to sign Taiwo outrightly for €2m at the end of the season if he impresses them.

Queens Park Rangers and Reading, Portuguese side Benfica and French outfit Marseille approached AC Milan for the Nigerian. But his wage demands derailed talks of a switch to England, Portugal or a return to former club Marseille, where he is still a crowd favourite.

However, while Taiwo is relishing his move to Ukraine, his compatriots, Ideye, Ayila and Lukman also said they have a reason to be happy at Kiev.

“We are happy at Kiev because the club offer us the opportunity to play football. Not only that, we are also glad that Kiev are competing in the UEFA Champions League, ” Ayila said.

Taiwo: “Honestly, I never had the chance to show what I am capable of doing at Milan, but that is life. I’m happy for the prospect of playing in the Champions League at Kiev.”

Continuing the former Gabros Football Club player opined that the prospect of playing in the UEFA Champions League is another reason he moved saying, “I chose to come to Dynamo Kiev because of the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League and also to experience a new life.

“It was very important to consider my international career and I took this decision with that in mind.”

—Adebobola Alawode

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