Ten Nigerian footballers have signed for clubs in the Norwegian leagues in the last two years, though the number could increase as the third edition of the Leke James Invitational Tournament kicks off in Kaduna.
A scout that facilitated some of the trials that led to the signings, Krister Gunderson, revealed this while fielding questions from sports writers at a press conference to herald the 2019 Leke James Invitational Tournament 3.0 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium on Tuesday.
“In the last two years, 10 Nigerian players got contracts in Norway. There are huge potentials here but we don’t have a say on who will be signed, ours is to recommend. We are scouts, we see the potentials and hook them up for trials but we can’t compel the clubs to sign them on. It is left for the players to go out there and impress the teams while on trial,” he said.
“Last year, a player came to Norway for trials though he couldn’t get a contract. Leke has done much it is a high tournament. Our job as scouts is to give players the platform. One of our success story is Odion Ighalo,” he added.
When asked about what he has observed in the last two years, he said, “it has been some interesting and good matches. Looking forward to them playing again. We are working with Leke we are talking about finding the next Leke”..
Tournament organiser, Leke James, explained that it was an open competition. “We are trying to maintain age limit of not more than 20 years old players. There are scouts here Stig Toberson from Sweden and Udia Attai from Nigeria,” he said..
He said some good players don’t make it when they go for trials in Europe due to many factors, “It could be the weather, food and other factors that affect players that went on trial last year”.
LOC chairman of the tournament, Timothy Felix, said the third edition is bigger than the previous two.
“There is a lot of testimony on improvement. Last year it was at Township Stadium, this year at the biggest Stadium. The tournament is being held between December 9 to 11 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium. There are 16 teams participating,” he said.