Nigeria Premier League side, Sunshine Stars of Akure, have signed Gbenga Okunowo, a former FC Barcelona defender ahead of the kick off the NPL 2011/12 season
Okunowo is one of the very few Nigerians that has played for the spanish giants and has also featured for both the U-20 national side (Flying Eagles) as well as the Super Eagles at different times.
According to officials of Sunshine stars, the former Barca ace was handed a one year deal that could be extended based on his performance.
Both the player and his agent, Larry Badmus, confirmed his move to the league runners-up, who will also feature in this year’s CAF Champions League.
“He is a player of Sunshine Stars after we reached an agreement with the club,” Badmus told MTNFootball.com
Sources in the Sunshine stars camp in Delta state hinted that Okunowo might even be on the squad for the NPL opener against champions Dolphin on Saturday in Port Harcourt if the league starts as planned
A few years ago, the 32-year-old fullback, who played for Barcelona between 1998 and 2000, tried to make a sensational return to the game by playing in non-league football in England.
He made 14 appearances for the famous Catalan giants.
Okunowo last played in the NPL for Shooting Stars in 1997 but has had to cope with an injury-ridden carer
Several Nigerian players have headed back to the NPL for the coming season from overseas.
They include Olympic team goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye, whose contract with Spanish second division team, Pontevedra, was not renewed; and Sam Ledor, who was formerly plying his trade in Tunisia.
Sope Ahmed has also joined 3SC after playing in Vietnam, as well as ex-U17 star Omonigho Temile, who is back at Warri Wolves after a loan spell in Bulgaria.