Be Forward Wanderers have sealed loan deals for two Nigerian players—winger Adekola Ayinla and striker Ebuka Fabian Ozochukwu—who are scheduled to arrive in the country this morning through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
The Nomads general secretary (GS) Mike Butao and the two players’ agent—revered Nigerian football legend Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha—confirmed in separate interviews having sealed six months loan deals.
“We have signed them as free agents and they are coming in free of charge. There is no signing-on or transfer fees involved following fruitful negotiations that we had with their manager Jay-Jay Okocha.
“But if we are impressed, we can sign them permanently in January and this is because we have exhausted our transfer budget and we could not get such soft deal locally, we had to negotiate for such an arrangement with Jay-Jay,” he said.
Butao disclosed that they are expecting some of their players to sign deals with Japanese teams in due course, “and these [Nigerian] players have [therefore], been roped in as direct replacements for the imminent departures. This is a continuation of the our sponsors’ efforts to give the team exposure in Japan and [Genk] Nakamura’s presence here, is part of our plan.”
Asked why they are still signing foreigners when they have had contractual disputes in deals involving others such as Nigerian Amos Bello and Ghanaian Lionel Atsu, the Nomads GS said: “These [Ayinla and Ozochukwu] are players we have brought in as a club whereas for the others, they came on their own and opted to play for Wanderers.”
Asked why they appear to have developed interest in foreign players, Butao said: “As I said, they come on their own, except in the latest development. But also take it from me, just like we have Nigerians, Burundians etc. in almost every corner of our major cities, soon Malawi will be flooded with foreign players.
“We cannot shut our football doors to foreigners forever. We, at Wanderers, are simply setting the trend.”
On his part, Okocha confirmed the deal, saying: “Send me a questionnaire then I can explain in detail but briefly, it is true. We [sometimes] loan these players with an option to sell them. They are good and have gone through the ropes,” he said.
Wanderers team manager Stevie Madeira said the technical panel watched the two players video clips and are convinced they can add value to the team.
“We first did our homework by tracing their backgrounds and watching some of their clips. Their coming will also enhance competition in the team as we seek to revive our title hopes,” he said. n