The Goan outfit is yet to find a prolific striker like the Nigerian after he parted ways with the club in 2007…
Ever since the exit of their star Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi in 2007, the Flaming Oranje have failed to rope in a suitable replacement and relied more on mediocre foreign imports. Joined in 2001, the former Sporting captain successfully led his team to the Second Division NFL title in 2002-2003, handing them their first ever qualification for the First Division NFL, under then coach Peter Vales. The previous year, Dudu also played a stellar role is guiding Sporting to the semi-finals of the Federation Cup.
No doubt Dudu had a few disputes with Sporting regarding transfer issues but he still remains the clubs all time highest goal scorer with 73 goals. Dudu’s ability to play in the heart of the midfield also served Sporting on many occasions. As he left the Panjim-based club in 2007 to live his dream of playing in Europe, Sporting also lost their dynamic scorer.
After Dudu’s departure Sporting had to rely heavily on local talent as their foreign contingent failed to deliver the goods consistently. Kenyan international striker Boniface Ambani was signed from East Bengal for the 2007-2008 season. But the lanky striker failed to put up a consistent performance and was not handed an extension.
Similarly, another Nigerian, Nathaniel Amos arrived at Sporting the following season and made an impact initially but he could not keep up the form for a long time. Fellow Nigerian Michael Tayo proved to be the biggest disaster for Sporting as even the management had shown dissatisfaction over his performance.
The closest to match up to Dudu’s class was Junior Obagbemiro who later moved to Kolkata side United Sports Club after Sporting faced relegation in 2010. Prior to that season, Junior helped Sporting finish 3rd in the I-League under the guidance of then coach Vishwas Gaonkar.
In the recently concluded season too, there wasn’t much contribution of the foreigners. Although the team had a successful campaign, Sporting’s management were looking for some more contribution from the foreigners namely Eldon Maquemba from Angola, Nigerian Daniel Bedemi and Japanese Yu Hoshide. Defender Keita Boubacar was Sporting’s fourth foreigner and seems to be the only one to impress. Keita did a commendable job along with captain Samananda Singh in the defence and is likely to be the only foreigner to be retained for the coming season.
Sporting are now in the hunt for some top foreigners and club chairman Peter Vaz has assured the club fans of some quality signings. “Certainly we are looking for some good foreign players. So far all the foreigners have been the same. Even after Dudu, we had good foreigners like Junior with whom we ran close to clinching the I-League title, two seasons back. But this time we will get better ones,” Vaz told Goal.com.
It’s left to see which foreigners Sporting rope in and will they be better than Dudu Omagbemi? Only time will tell.
Have YOUR say. Do YOU think Sporting Clube will ever find a player like Dudu? You could also suggest which foreigners Sporting should sign for the 2011-2012 season. Write YOUR suggestions in the comment box below.
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