By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Even as there is possibility of swelling the number from the Lake James Tournament, it has been disclosed that no fewer than 10 Nigerian footballers have been signed up in Norwegian leagues within the last two years.
A scout that facilitated some of the trials that led to the signings, Krister Gunderson revealed this, while fielding questions from newsmen at a press conference in respect of the Third Edition, Leke James Invitational Tournament 3.0 Kaduna 2019 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium on Tuesday December 10.
“In the last two years, 10 Nigerian players got contracts in Norway,” he said.
On how many players are expected to be signed on from the Leke James Invitational, he said there are huge potentials, but they don’t have a say on that, theirs 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 trials,” he stressed.
He said that last year a player came to Norway for trials though he couldn’t get a contract, adding that although it is a plus for Leke James Tournament.
“Leke has done much it is a high tournament, probably, he doesn’t need to do more.
“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 so far, he said that he was impressed.
“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,” he said.
Earlier, organiser of the tournament, Leke James explained that it is an open competition.
“We are trying to maintain age limit, not more than 20 years old players are allowed to participate.
“There are scouts here from Norway, Sweden and Nigeria,” he said..
Commenting on why some good players don’t make it when they go for trials in Europe, he said many factors could be responsible.
“It could be the weather, food and other factors that affect players that went on trial last year,” he explained
LOC chairman of the tournament, Timothy Felix said that 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 press is very supportive. A big thank you to corporate organizations that supported us. Lot of them could not come in cash but in kind. This is third Edition it is bigger, the next would be much bigger,” he assured.
Speaking further, he thanked the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, and Commissioner of Sports, Professor Kabir Mato for their support.
The Leke James Invitational Tournament 3.0 Kaduna 2019 is being held betweenDecember 9 to 11 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
There are 16 teams participating.
Other scouts at the briefing were Stig Toberson (Sweden) and Udia Attai (Nigeria).