Over 20 expatriates, among whom three Benin Republic footballers have abandoned their home counties in a quest to make a name in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
The massive influx of foreign nationals into the NPFL each year is unsurprising considering the improved level of competition, entertainment and reward it now offers.
We look at these Benin Republic footballers who have been in the NPFL for like forever.
- Fabiyi Emmanuel – Gombe United
Fabiyi Emmanuel is probably one of the most experienced players in the NPFL at the moment. The 31-year-old began cutting his teeth in the domestic scene as far back as 1998 with Abuja-based FRSC. He then featured briefly for NEPA before joining Gateway FC which opened the gate for other clubs. Gombe United happens to be the goalkeeper’s eight top flight team.
- Isaac Loute – FC IfeanyiUbah
Another Beninese who has found solace in Nigeria is Isaac Loute. Currently on the books of FC IfeanyiUbah, the versatile defender, however, didn’t begin his NPFL adventure in Nnewi. The 25-year-old first stormed the country in 2009 joining Gateway FC. Just like Fabiyi, Loute’s brief stint in Abeokuta attracted legions of other sides. The versatile defender went on to play for six other teams including Enugu Rangers and Heartland.
- Salomon Junior – Plateau United
When Salomon Junior sojourned to Nigeria in 2013, he joined Bayelsa United, a team which had just been crowned champions. However, the 31-year-old shot-stopper was left with no option but an exit from the club after they suffered relegation last season. Junior now plays for Plateau United currently on the summit of the log. Like his compatriots, he has also represented his native Benin Republic but doesn’t look like returning home for club football any time soon.