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Sunday, 12 July 2020

Nigerian fan-favorite Utaka starts another spell with Egypt's Ismaily

Utaka returns to Ismaily after 15 years of European spell, hopes to win another trophy with the Dervishes

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 15 Jul 2016
Nigerian Utaka (Reuters)
Nigerian Utaka (Reuters)
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Nigerian forward John Utaka is glad to be playing with Ismaily once again after spending 15 years in top flight European clubs, noting that he hopes to win a second trophy with the Dervishes.

 "I hope to win another trophy with Ismaily," Utaka told reporters when he arrived in Egypt from France on Thursday.

"I chose to return to Ismaily because I love the atmosphere here as I still remember the previous period that I spent here," the former Nigeria international added.

The 34-year-old started his playing career in 1997 with Nigerian club Enugu Rangers before joining the Egyptian Premier League outfit Arab Contractors for two seasons, totaling 11 goals in 45 games.

He joined Ismaily for two seasons starting in 1999 and made a superb impact, helping the Dervishes to win the Egypt Cup and scoring 17 goals in 21 games.

Utaka was one of the Ismaily supporters' favorite players, who would chant "Oh Oh Oh Utaka, Oh Oh Oh Utaka" during the matches.

"I am happy with the good reception that pushes me to achieve my target with team," Utaka said.

The Nigerian star joined Qatari side Al-Sadd in 2001 for a then-national record transfer fee of $1 million.

Utaka later joined English Premier League side Portsmouth on a four-year deal in July 2007 before signing for French first division side Montpellier and finishing his European trip by joining Turkish club Sivasspor on a two-year contract in 2013.

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