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Ishaq Rafiu: NK Maribor sign Nigeria forward from NPFL champions Rivers United

14:08 GMT+3 26/07/2022
Ishaq Rafiu of Nigeria.
The 21-year-old has left the newly crowned champions to move to Europe ahead of the new season

Slovenian club NK Maribor have confirmed the acquisition of forward Ishaq Kayode Rafiu in readiness for the new season.

The 21-year-old Nigeria international has joined the top-tier side from Nigeria Professional Football League side Rivers United, whom he helped to win the title last season.

"We had to react, to expand the staff we also needed a new solution in the wing positions. I'm glad we got the deal done, Ishaq is here as a player for the present and the future," Maribor sporting director, Marko Suler told the club’s official website.

"He comes with good recommendations, as a Nigerian champion. Last season he scored 14 goals, if he played all the matches until the end, he could also become the top scorer of the championship.

“He is a player with penetration, speed, as well as rarely seen physical strength. It can mean an appropriate choice for the purpose of realising our competitive goals, and also for a further step forward from Maribor, as the players from Nigeria often prove as a breeding ground for talent. ”

On signing the deal, Rafiu told the same portal: "I am very happy that we agreed and that I signed the contract.

"After playing in the top tier of the competition in Nigeria and after winning the championship, I had quite a few offers from clubs from Europe, I decided to move to Maribor, because I believe that the best Slovenian club is currently the most suitable choice for me as the next step on the development path.

"As a multiple national champion and a long-term participant in European competitions, Maribor makes it possible for a football player to do what he wants.

"I am looking forward to a new challenge in my career, I want to contribute my share on the field and I can't wait to meet my teammates, the professional staff and join the training sessions.

"I got a lot of information about the club, also heard about the great support of the fans. I believe that together we will bring them many reasons to be satisfied, with new victories and winning trophies."

Maribor will play their next PrvaLiga fixture against Olimpija at Ljudski vrt on August 6 and are currently seventh on the log with three points from two matches.