Details of Nigerian player’s kidnapping revealed in distressed video

Details of Nigerian player’s kidnapping revealed in distressed video
Photo by Icon Sport

Ayagwa Raphael, a Nigerian midfielder whose contract with Aswan ended in the just concluded 2022/23 Egyptian league season, was reportedly kidnapped and subjected to a brutal assault by club officials.

Aswan were relegated at the end of the current season despite the efforts of the Nigerian midfielder to help the club survive a drop to the second division.

Ayagwa was contracted to the club until the end of the 2022/2023 league season in Egypt.

After the league ended for Aswan, the player demanded money owed him by the club, but instead he was given a cheque for half the payment. He demanded full payment, but the club refused.

Details of Ayagwa's ordeal emerge

Despite Aswan reportedly owing Raphael Ayagwa a portion of his money, club officials still wanted him to sign a new contract after giving him the little sum, but Ayagwa refused the offer.

The former NPFL winner with Plateau United packed his bags and was heading for the airport to return to Nigeria when the club officials started to attack the midfielder, allegedly inflicting severe physical harm on him.

Aswan officials took the player and held him against his will, denying him the opportunity to go on holiday after the season ended for Aswan on 14 July.

Raphael Ayagwa made a distress call to the Nigerian Embassy in Egypt, and to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) concerning his ordeal at Aswan on 16 July.

It is believed that an agreement was reached as interventions were made on behalf of the player, who has now been set free.

Ayagwa released a post on his official Facebook account on Sunday night, expressing gratitude to those who stood by him during his difficult experience in Egypt.

“I want to appreciate everyone who stood by me during the saga in Egypt. The prayers, the posts, the calls; the love was massive. God bless you all. I'm back home with my family now.” Ayagwa said.

Aswan completed the signing of Nigerian midfielder on a free transfer from Nigerian club Lobi Stars on 10 October 2022, after earning promotion into the 2022/23 Egyptian league season.

Ayagwa Raphael in action
Credit: @AyagwaR

Aswan ended the season in 16th place, accumulating 33 points from 34 matches. But that was not enough, as they've been relegated to the Egyptian second-tier division.

Ayagwa made a total of 26 appearances in the 2022/23 Egyptian Premier League season for Aswan.

Relegated Aswan relied on the creative midfielder's efforts and hoped to tie the player down to another contract. However, the Gboko-born Nigerian footballer felt since he was still owed part of his former contract's money, the club did not deserve another signature from him.

Ayagwa featured for Aswan's last three fixtures in the Egyptian Premier League, where Aswan could not battle their way out of relegation.

The club's relegation was confirmed in their last game of the season, a fixture at home against El Dakhlya on 14 July. It was a match Aswan needed to win to stay clear of the dropzone, but instead lost 2-4 to the visitors.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.