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Mikel, Odion Lose In China’s First League Matches



The opening day matches of the lucrative of the 2017 Chinese Super League have not been favourable to the different clubs where Nigerian players are featuring.

Super Eagles’ skipper, Mikel Obi fell 0-2 with his club, Tianjin Teda, to hosts, Shandong Luneng in Saturday’s match.

It was even more disastrous for Odion Ighalo’s Changchun Yatai.  The club, also playing away, could not hold on to a 26th minute lead and crumbled miserably 1-5 to star-studded  Shanghai East Asia.

The Shanghai team, handled by Andre Villa-Boas has in its fold, three Brazilians- Hulk, Elkeson and Oscar.

Like in the case of Tianjin Teda where Mikel Obi played through the duration of the match, Ighalo also had a full time with Changchun Yatai. Brown Ideye, a club mate of Mikel, was not listed, even in the reserve.


By regulations, the clubs are restricted to five foreign players per team and only three can play in one match. In addition, each team is compelled to field at least two under 23 players in the 18-man list and at least one must be in the starting list.

On the opening day on Friday when Liaoning Whowin forced Guizhou Zhicheng forced a 1-1 draw, Nigeria’s Anthony Ujah was missing in the Liaoning Whowin list.

 On Sunday, Obafemi Martins’ Shanghai Shenhua will take on Jiangsu Sainty to round up the MatchDay one of the 16-team Chinese elite league. Among the four other foreign players Obafemi will have to contend with to get into the starting line up are former Manchester United/City Argentine forward, Carlos Tevez, the Colombian duo of Fredy Guarin and Giovanni Moreno as well as Korea’s Kim Kee-hee.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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