KOLKATA: Southern Samity have made an exciting splash into the transfer market with the acquisition of Nigerian talisman Odafa Okolie for the final round of the 2016/17 2nd Division League commencing from 7th April 2017.
Southern Samity had been trying to rope in Odafa since the beginning of the season and finally they have got their man when they need him the most.
The 31-year-old, who last played for Sporting Club de Goa in 2015/16 I-League, has returned to Kolkata after three years and will be joined by midfielder Kalu Ogba — with whom he formed a lethal partnership up front in Churchill Borthers — and defender Richard Agwu to complete the overseas signings of the club.
Odafa, once most sought after striker in Indian club football, started his career in India at Mohammedan Sporting Club in 2003 where he initially played as a defender before leaving for Bangladesh Premier League club Muktijoddha Sangsad KC in 2004.
Odafa returned to India with Churchill Brothers in 2005. While at Churchill, he scored a whopping nearly 100 goals in five seasons. He was skipper when the Red Machines won their maiden I-League title in 2008/09 and with Churchill Brothers, he has won every major trophy in India apart from Federation Cup.
In 2011, Odafa moved to Kolkata with Mohun Bagan for a record sum of Rs 1.7 crore. Thus made him the highest paid footballer in India. However, Odafa failed to replicate his Churchill performance at Mohun Bagan and after three dissapointing seasons he returned to Churchill in 2014.
Later Odafa joined Sporting Clube de Goa midway through the 2014/15 season from Churchill and after impressing with eight goals in nine appearances which helped the club stay afloat in the top tier, the club didn’t waste much time in keeping him for the next season, but in the subsequent he failed to live up to the hype and missed a number of matches after injuring his knee which saw the club did not renew his contract at end of the season.
For Southern Samity, who were eyeing Odafa for past one year, the Nigerian was the biggest catch for the club which finished second in the Preliminary Stage Group-B table. With all said and done Odafa undoubtedly brings a wealth of experience that will certainly be a great boost to the Southern Samity squad and can be the difference maker for the Hemanta Dora-caoched side in the final round if he stays fit.