Thursday Jul 28, 2016. 15:36
AfricanFootball.com can exclusively reveal that Norwegian club Lillestrom staged a massive transfer coup when they snapped up Nigeria midfielder Ifeanyi Matthew from bigger clubs like Anderlecht and Danish giants Brondby.
READ: Ifeanyi Matthew signs 4-year deal with Norwegian club
On Thursday, Matthew, 20, bagged a massive four-year contract with Lillestrom after only his first day of training at the Oslo club.
“Ifeanyi is a diamond and we want the very best for him, where he will develop to his full potentials. He has been warmly received at Lillestrom and everyone who knows the game, also knows that this is the beginning of bigger things for the player,” his adviser Adam Mohammed told AfricanFootball.com
“But he also knows he has to work a lot harder. His time with the various national teams as well as with Kano Pillars and El Kanemi has prepared him well for the many challenges ahead.
“And as long as he remains focused, he will fulfill the huge promise he has shown over time.”
This season, ‘Ify’ showed his class at one of Nigeria’s top clubs Kano Pillars after his breakout season with El Kanemi in the previous campaign.
“He is a very committed and dedicated player,” remarked Pillars spokesman Idris Malikawa.
“He came and added value to our team. We will surely miss him, but we cannot stop him choosing to move up in his career.
“We wish him the very best at his new club as he remains a big ambassador of Kano Pillars in Europe.”
The Kano-born Matthew showed class and poise at this year’s CHAN in Rwanda, featuring in all three group games under the guidance of then Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh.
A highly impressed Oliseh will go on to pick the versatile midfielder as his best Nigeria player at the tournament.
The gifted player first flourished under coach Manu Garba with the Nigeria U17s, the Golden Eaglets, in 2013.
He will then inspire the Flying Eagles to win the African Youth Championship in Senegal last year, scoring three goals and providing the assists for the team’s star striker Taiwo Awoniyi.
A deep cut on his foot after the Flying Eagles opening game against Brazil at the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand meant the Junior Eagles struggled to rediscover the form that had installed them as one of the favourites to clinch the championship.
This month, he was picked for NPFL All-Stars, but had to quit the training camp to complete his long-awaited move to Europe.