Umaid Wasim – DAWN
KARACHI, Nov 27: After a six-year gap, the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) will see a foreign player taking part.
Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) finally secured the visa for Oludeyi Abayomi Sunday on Wednesday and the Nigerian striker is set to arrive in the country on Thursday.
With KESC seeking their maiden PPFL title, they will unleash their new frontman against two-time defending champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) on Friday.
“He’ll be arriving on Thursday and he’s fully fit to take part in the big game against KRL,” KESC’s Head of Sports Zabe Khan told Dawn on Wednesday.
Zabe expects the arrival of the player will help give them further impetus in their title charge. “Hopefully he’ll fire us to our first title as we’re in a good position with 15 games left to play,” Zabe added.
After 15 games, KESC are second in the table with 32 points, four behind leaders Muslim FC who have played 19 matches.
Abayomi’s arrival will be a boost for KESC following a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in their last match and face a KRL side smarting from a 1-0 reverse at the hands of National Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday.
Abayomi’s arrival ends a long-running saga for KESC who had initially signed up the player and got him registered before the start of the season.
However, delay in issuance of a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to bring the player before subsequent hold-up in the player obtaining his visa meant KESC had to wait till their first 15 matches to finally land the player.
The 20-year-old attacker arrives from Nigerian club Rivers United and has also played for Nigeria’s U-23 side. He also had a trial at Dubai side Al-Ahli in 2012.
The last foreigner to feature in PPFL was also a Nigerian — Akeem Abbas in 2007-08 season.
But his ill-fated stint at Wohaib FC, where wasn’t paid his salaries and made to live in poor conditions, have seen PPFL clubs have difficulty in signing foreign players.
Meanwhile, in PPFL action on Wednesday, Atif’s 11th-minute strike helped Habib Bank Limited (HBL) edge past Baloch FC 1-0 at the Korangi Baloch Stadium. HBL’s victory helped them move to 21 points from 19 matches while Baloch FC are six points behind.