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Mikel will struggle in China - TEDA's 1st Nigerian player

NPFL By: Collins Udeme | 11/01/2017

Mikel will struggle in China - Nigeria's 1st TEDA signing

Former Super Eagles striker Benedict Akwuegbu believes the impatient, high standard and the too demanding level of Chinese football will make success difficult to achieve the likes of Mikel John Obi and other super stars flooding the Chinese Super League.

Akwuegbu stated this while assessing the influx of football stars to the Chinese Super League from top European clubs adding that he opened the way for Nigerian players to move to China with his success in the Chinese Super league when it was very unpopular.

READ MORE: Mikel reveals Tianjin TEDA ambition

Akwuegbu who has eight goals in 30 appearances for the Super Eagles revealed that the money involved then was low as he was earned N9m a week then, "I am the first Nigerian player to play in China when I was signed by Shenyang Ginde in 2001 for $2m in a deal worth N9.86m per week.

"I later signed for Tianjin Teda and my success in the Chinese league paved the way for Nigerian players to move to the league with ease.

"As that time many players were afraid of playing in China because of its high demanding nature as the idea of football there is totally different from what is experienced in Europe.

"The level and standard is very high. That is why people like Didier Drogba went there and left. They run a lot, it’s like military training. They are very serious and train very hard. They give you short contracts, unlike Europe, where you can be given three years or more contracts.

"They only buy foreign players that can help their team. Once they see that you cannot help them, they get rid of you."

READ MORE: 7 Top Nigerians that have played in China

Super Eagles’ skipper, John Mikel Obi's recent move to China made him the 25th Nigerian player to move to the Chinese Super League after completing a three year deal worth around N83.3m per week to Tianjin TEDA.

The former Chelsea man who spent over ten years at Stamford Bridge becomes the 5th Nigerian player to sign for the Chinese Club after Akwuegbu, Alfred Emuejeraye, Henry Makinwa and Obiora Odita.