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6 Nigerian footballers affected by the Russia-Ukraine crisis

After Russian President Vladimir Putin began a military invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, Nigerian forward Michael Stephen’s football activities have been halted.

Six Nigerian footballers have been directly affected by the conflict because they play in Ukraine, three in the top flight and three in the second level.

Meet the 6 Nigerians based in Ukraine impacted by the Russian invasion.

Stephen Michael Gopey

A 22-year-old striker from Wikki Tourists joined Ingulets in the Ukrainian Premier League as a free agent in July 2021.

Chukwufumnanya, John David

John David Chukwufumnanya, 22, is a midfielder for Real Pharma Odesa in Ukraine’s Druha Liga, but he has yet to appear for the team.

Solomon-Otabor, Viv

A 26-year-old journeyman joined Rukh Lviv on a free transfer from St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership in January 2022. Solomon-Otabor progressed through the ranks at Birmingham, where he made 40 appearances while on loan to Oxford, Bolton, and Portsmouth. The winger went on to play for CSKA Sofia, Wigan, and most recently St Johnstone before signing a one-year contract with Rukh Lviv, for whom he has yet to play a game.

Paago, Henry Tedum

Rivers State native plays for Trustyanets in Ukraine’s second division, the Druga Liga. Paago, 23, has progressed through Ukrainian football’s lower categories and played a key role in Trustyanets’ promotion to the second tier, where he presently has two goals in 10 games this season.

Bright Essien, John

Bright John Essien, 19, plays for Peremoga Dnipro in Ukraine’s second tier on a one-year contract that expires in June. The winger has only recently broken into the first squad, making one appearance in a cup game.

Obamina, Michael

Michael Obamina, 18, joined Rukh Lviv in the Ukrainian Premier League in September 2021 after graduating from the Super Stars Football Academy in Uyo.

International respnse

US Vice President Joe Biden has already condemned Russia’s invasion, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Putin to “stop sending troops into Ukraine.”

Writing by Saadatu Albashir: Adapted from Africa News