It was not until the emergence of Super Agent Atta Aneke, that Nigerian players found Norway the best route to top spending clubs in Europe and Asia, IKENWA NNABUOGOR sheds more light.
The agent on every Nigerian player’s lips is Atta Emefie Aneke, the Norway-based agent, in whom Nigerian players are well pleased.
Most Nigerian players both home and abroad would love to work with the energetic and amiable agent who is the brain behind the ever growing number of Nigerian foreign legion in Norway.
In the beginning Atta Aneke was just unknown to Nigerian players and not until he transferred Odion Ighalo and Chukwuma Akabueze to Lyn Oslo and Odd Grenland, respectively that he began to re-write the history of player’s management business, his empire that has grown to become one of the most talked about in Europe, especially Norway and back home in Nigeria.
Today, Atta’s agency boasts of some of the best players in Nigeria and some more in the Super Eagles. For a young agent who had hoped to make a fortune pursuing a football career but changed to player’s management heeding his father’s advice, his success story is totally worthy of note.
Atta was playing for his father’s club in Oslo but was advised by his dadr to take up player’s management and the rest is now history, as they say.
“I saw the passion in him becoming a successful player’s agent and encouraged him to take it up,” Pa Aneke, who recently turned 70, told ScoreNigeria.com.ng
“Today, he’s one of the biggest agents around and I’m very proud of him.
“He’s really contributed big time in the development of Nigerian football by taking our players abroad and turning them into big players.
“I’m particularly impressed with the conduct and cooperation of his players. I’m very glad as a father.”
Atta’s profile was rising rapidly as he continued to ship Nigerian players to Norway with the success of Ighalo to Lyn Oslo in 2007, Akabueze as well as Kazeem Ahmed, the speeding former Kwara United striker at Hodd, in the Norwegian second-tier league.
Ighalo’s Lyn spell was short as soccer watchers less imagined with Italian club Udinese splashing a whopping $5 million on Ighalo, handing him a five-year contract.
That was the beginning of the successful soccer career that Ighalo, sourced from Julius Berger, has enjoyed so far. Currently playing in the Chinese Super League for Chanchung Yatai, ighalo’s soccer journey has also taken him to Spain and England.
More doors into Norway were opened to Nosa Igiebor from Warri Wolves, Anthony Ujah from FC Abuja and Insurance striker Edwin Eyizodawe, who were welcomed by Lillestroem SK to begin a sweet romance with Nigerian players, which has continued to return good money for the modest Norwegian clubs in transfer fee revenues.
Igiebor, Ujah and lately Fred Friday have gone on to greater things from Lillestroem. Igiebor, who has gone on to taste big time European soccer in Israel, Spain and Turkey, added the African Nations Cup title to his title cabinet.
Currently, Lillestroem have three Nigerians in their fold as they are waiting for the big money move from top spenders outside of Norway for Ifeanyi Matthew, who was magical in his first season.
“I have had a great working relationship with my Nigerian players and I must say it’s been a great one,” Atta told ScoreNigeria.com.ng
“From Ighalo, Igiebor to all other Nigerian players I’m currently managing, I’m very happy to with them.
“They have done well and I’ve also done well on my part. The relationship continues to grow.
“I must also not fail to acknowledge the scouts that work with me, they have done tremendously, without them we may not have come this far.”
Atta’s sharp eye for local, raw talents has seriously yielded great dividends as many young non-league players have found home especially in Norway, having impressed well enough to attract contracts.
“I have worked with players who had initially not played top league football in Nigeria and they have done well,” he remarked.
“I give kudos to my scouts in Nigeria who have great eye to fish out these players from different areas in Nigeria.
“Some of these players were selected from local tournaments arranged by my scouts in conjunction with some agents in Nigeria.
“Even some of my players in Europe who have academies also participate in these tournaments where we pick players who impressed.”
CSKA Moscow ace on loan to Amkar Perm Aaron Samuel Olanare was discovered from one of the local tournaments and today the big striker, who has also had a taste of Super Eagles action, is one of Atta’s biggest players.
Samuel arrived at Norwegian side Valeranga in 2012, but it was at Sarpsborg that he got his groove back and not long, Chinese top side Guangzhou R&F came calling.
The rest is history for the super strong striker who has battled injuries to remain in the game that he still got a lot to offer.
Atta does not hide his love for his players as he gushes glowingly when talking about the smiles and joy his players have brought to his career. He couldn’t have also gushed less about his impressive bulging bank balance sheets as well.
“Like I said earlier, Ighalo and company have made my job a great one as I have enjoyed working with them,” he said.
Daniel Chima Chukwu is another player who has done well under the wings of Atta.
The Kano-born star arrived at Lyn Oslo and instantly became the fans’ favourite with his goals, amazingly lightening turn of pace, dreadlocks and smiles. Lyn Oslo went under and Chukwu continued his thing at Molde FK and by the time he left Molde for greater things at Chinese side Shanghai Shenzin, Chukwu had added two Norwegian top league titles to his personal honours’ cabinet.
There are many more Ighalos, Akabuezes, Chukwus, Samuels in Nigeria and elsewhere waiting to get on Atta’s board.
Only time will tell.
But no doubt, Atta has enjoyed a successful player’s agency network that has continued by rise by leaps and bounds.
All Atta’s men
Odion Ighalo – Changchun Yatai (China)
Aaron Samuel Olanare – Amkar Perm (Russia)
Daniel Chima Chukwu – Molde FK (Norway)
Chukwuma Akabueze – Boluspor (Turkey)
Chigozie Udoji – Platanias (Greece)
Samuel Adegbenro – Rosenberg BK (Norway)
Suleiman Abdullahi – Eintracht Braunschweig (Germany)
Ifeanyi Matthew – Lillestroem SK (Norway)
Chidera Ejuke – Valerenga (Norway)
Charles Chinedu Ezeh – Lillestroem SK (Norway)
Moses Ebiye – Lillestroem SK (Norway)
Abubakar Ibrahim Aliyu – IK Start (Norway)
Peter Godly Michael – Valerenga (Norway)
Usman Sale – Valerenga (Norway)
Onyekachi Ugwuadu – Sandnes Ulf (Norway)
Aniekpeno Udo – Valerenga (Norway)
Thompson Unachi Ekpe – Arendal Fotball (Norway)
Igho Ogbu – Rosenberg BK (Norway)
By Ikenwa Nnabuogor