On Friday Shooting Stars SC (3SC) tweeted about their mid-season friendly match against Ikorodu City and one image stood out from the photo of players lined up, Ikouwem Udo Utin.
Utin was captain of Enyimba, a 19 year-old, who inspired their league title triumph that season.
He was genuinely that big a prospect, so much so the national team Coach, Paul Aigbogun, drafted him into the Nigeria U20 MNT for the Africa Cup of Nations and subsequently the FIFA U20 World Cup.
The transition was steady and he even got Super Eagles invitations, there was nothing unnatural about how Utin’s career with the NT was guided, but the player then went and took a shocking detour.
The youngster’s stock was rising and the chance of possibly joining a good European league was opening up with the exposure at both club and national team levels.
Hence, it came as a shock when the Youngster opted for the Israeli Ligat ha’AL, moving to Maccabi Haifa as his first overseas destination.
Four years down the line, owing to a number of factors, ND after stints at Bnei Sakhnin and NK Slaven Belupo in Croatia, Ikouwem Utin is back in the colors of an NPFL.
With 3SC he’d hope to revive his career like many before him had done; Duke Udi, Gbolahan Salami and Sunday Faleye to mention a few.
As part of our preparation for the second round of the NPFL, we were involved in a warm-up duel against Ikorodu City.
The friendly tie, which took place, Thursday evening at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, ended in a 1-1 draw. pic.twitter.com/uP5KtcSM7V
— Shooting Stars SC (@ShootingSc) March 9, 2023
Surely, Gbenga Ogunbote will find the inclusion of an experienced number 3 as invaluable to a team seated 7th in the group standings.
The Club’s ambition is to secure one of three playoffs ticket in this abridged League format, perhaps with his experience, Utin can help propel the team to reaching that goal and likewise breath life into a struggling young career.
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