Royale Antwerp midfielder Alhassan Yusuf is beaming with joy as he sees the number of Nigerians growing within the Belgian champions’ ranks, Soccernet.ng reports.
When Yusuf arrived at the club in 2021, he was the sole representative from Nigeria, but things have dramatically changed since then.
In March of this year, Antwerp bolstered their squad with the addition of Nigerian prodigy Victor Udoh, coming from Hypebuzz FC in Abuja.
The youngster, however, did not play a major role in the historic first league title win in over sixty years as Yusuf and his teammates marched to glory.
However, the title win masked Antwerp’s struggles in attack during the campaign.
In response, Antwerp have taken decisive action to address the issue by securing two attacking talents of Nigerian origin.
Lagos-born George Ilenikhena moved from French side Amiens on June 29, committing to a four-year deal.
Furthermore, Super Eagles’ forward Chidera Ejuke has joined on a season-long loan deal from CSKA Moscow.
Yusuf is hopeful that these recent acquisitions will prove beneficial not only for Antwerp but also for his fellow Nigerians within the club.
He expressed his satisfaction with the increased options, stating, “It’s good for the team if there are options. Now we have new attackers. That problem has already been solved, I think,” as per VoetbalKrant.
Eager to welcome Ejuke, Yusuf revealed, “Yes, I already knew him (Ejuke). I welcome him, and hopefully, he will train with us soon.”
The Nigerian contingent at Antwerp continues to grow, creating a close-knit enclave on the Bosuil.
“We are already with four players from Nigeria. That is good for me.”
On the camaraderie among the Nigerian players, Yusuf shared, “That we can now play cards? Hey. We often talk to each other, including about Nigeria, so that’s good.”
Antwerp kicked off their title defence with a slender 1-0 home victory against Cercle Brugge on July 30.