By James Agberebi
Former Nigeria international, Tijani Babangida, says Ezekiel Bassey's move to Barcelona B team from Enyimba is the only standout January transfer made by a Nigerian player, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
During the winter transfer, a couple of Nigerian players moved to different clubs. Super Eagles skipper John Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo moved to China to join Tianjin Teda and Changchun Yatai respectively. Wilfred Ndidi signed for Leicester City, while Elderson Echiejile moved to Sporting Gijon in the Spanish LaLiga, among many other transfers.
But the transfer that caught the attention of most Nigerians was little known Bassey from Enyimba to Barcelona B side on a six-month loan deal.
Reacting to the moves made by Nigerian players, Babangida who featured at two Africa Cup of Nations (Ghana/Nigeria 2000, Mali 2002) and one FIFA senior World Cup (France 1998) with the Super Eagles, described Bassey's move as the best, hoping that he succeeds.
"Most of the big transfers are the players that are almost ending their career. Because as we can see, Mikel and Ighalo have gone to China," Babangida told Completesportsnigeria.com
"For me, the best transfer made by a Nigerian player is little known Ezekiel Bassey to the Barcelona B team. If Bassey does well in four months, he can make it to the first team or come back to Enyimba.
"So, I think Bassey's transfer is the one we should focus more on, and pray that he succeeds because we want to see our players play in big teams especially in Barcelona."
And on the mass movement of players to the Chinese Super League, Babangida who played for Ajax Amsterdam during his playing career, posited that the Chinese Super League can't compete with the other European leagues for now.
"I remember when I was about finishing my football career, I played in China and also played in the same team Ighalo is going to now, (Changchun Yatai) and I know that they love football there. For me, China is the heaven of football now and the players they are taking now are players who have one or two more years in their careers.
"But I believe in a country where emphasis is on bringing young players who will have the ambition to fight the Europeans. But with the kind of players they are attracting, I don't see China matching the Europeans," the 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal winner with Nigeria U-23 Eagles said.