Nigeria Super Eagles’ prospect Tolu Arokodare was a substitute in KRC Genk’s 4-0 away victory at RWD Molenbeek on the opening day of their 2023/24 season.
The Belgian First Division, known as the Jupiler Pro League for sponsorship reasons, kicked off on 28 July 2023 for the 2023/24 season.
Nigerian players plying their trade across Belgium have officially begun their journey to the Jupiler League title including Arokodare, who had to wait till the 75th minute of Genk’s league opener to make his season debut.
Read on to find out how his (and other Nigerian players) game went.
First league game
First 3 points@KRCGenkofficial 🔵⚪️
— T.e.a.7_ (@toluarokodare) July 30, 2023
Yira Sor gets nod ahead of Tolu Arokodare in Genk season opener
KRC Genk continue their history with Nigerian nationals in the 2023/24 season with Tolu Arokodare and former U-20 Nigeria national football team player Yira Sor. Both players joined Paul Onuachu’s former club in the winter transfer window of the 2022/23 season; Tolu Arokodare from Valmiera FC in Latvia and Sor from Slavia Prague in Czechia.
They came in as Onuachu was headed to England to join Southampton and racked up a combined 31 appearances and scored two goals each. 11 of those appearances belonged to Arokodare, who came almost a month after Sor landed at the Cegeka Arena.
Both are competing for the starting striker berth in the team and it is evident from their opening game of the 2023/24 season that Sor is ahead of Tolu Arokodare in the pecking order.
Started on Friday Infact.
Tolu Arokodare, Yira Sor were both in action for Genk yesterday.
Valentine Ozornwafor was an unused substitute for Charleroi. https://t.co/bmZyRTVHia
— Ojora Babatunde (@ojbsports) July 30, 2023
The former Slavia Prague man played the full 90 minutes of the tie as Genk, who we predict to win this season’s Jupiler Pro League, took all three points from RWD Molenbeek who hosted them in their season curtain raiser on Saturday.
Arokodare came on in the 75th minute for Ghanaian winger Joseph Paintsil, whose man-of-the-match performance saw him provide assists for two of the four goals scored by The Smurfs.
— KRC Genk (@KRCGenkofficial) July 30, 2023
Both players gave a good account of themselves in the time they were given, however, and will return to training during the week to give manager Wouter Vrancken something to think about ahead of their next clash, which is the second leg of the UEFA Champions League qualifying fixture tie against Swiss league side Servette FC.
Nigerians in Belgium: Tolu Arokodare, Gift Orban, Onyedika all earn first caps of 2023/24 season
The eyes of the Nigeria football news media will be on Tolu Arokodare, who has emerged as another hot striker prospect for the three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions.
AFCON 2021 participant Chidera Ejuke is the latest Nigerian addition to the Belgium League. The winger’s signing for defending champions Royal Antwerp was announced on Saturday while Arokodare and co were battling RWD Molenbeek.
OFFICIAL: Chidera Ejuke has joined Belgian champions Royal Antwerp from CSKA Moscow 🔴⚪ pic.twitter.com/q6fIKVlDHI
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) July 30, 2023
He joins Alhassan Yusuf in the Antwerp squad. The midfielder played the full season opener for the reigning champions who secured a narrow 1-0 win at home against Cercle Brugge.
Gift Orban remains the star man among the Nigerian players in the Belgium League and he proved this by opening his league account in KAA Gent’s 3-2 home win over Kortrijk. The 21-year-old forward scored the third goal which proved to be the winner in a game where Gent had to come back from a goal down.
Tolu Arokodare is expected to rival him the way he did Victor Boniface, who left Union Saint-Gilloise for Bayer 04 Leverkusen earlier in July.
Raphael Onyedika played 81 minutes of Club Brugge’s 1-1 home draw in their season opener on Sunday.
The Belgium League returns on Friday 4 August and Goalball Live will bring you more coverage of the action.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago