‘It was not premeditated’ – Linkopings coach Unogard explains how he signed three Nigerians

    The Swedish manager acquired the services of the Super Falcons trio in the build-up to the new Damallsvenskan season

    Linkopings coach Olof Unogard has revealed that there was no premeditation in his signings of Nigeria internationals Ebere Orji, Uchenna Kanu and Chinaza Uchendu for the 2019-20 season.

    Orji joined Linkopings from Umea in February after she played a key role in their Elitettan triumph and promotion to the Damallsvenskan in the 2019 season, in which she scored 11 goals in 26 games.

    Kanu and Uchendu joined their compatriot Orji at the Swedish club after breaking ties with Spanish Primera Iberdrola outfit Sevilla and Portuguese side Sporting Braga, respectively, earlier this month.

    The Damallsenskan outfit have won the last three matches since acquiring the Nigerians and the Swedish manager admitted the trio were their best options during the transfer window.

    “No, I wouldn’t say it was premeditated. Ebere did well in Swedish club Umeå and was recruited in February,”  Unogard told Goal.  

    “This window, we started off with a wide search and Chinaza and Uchenna were two alternatives amongst several others but we always felt that those two were good options for us.”

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    Linkopings opened the 2019-20 Damallsvenskan campaign with a 3-0 triumph over Vaxjo and Kanu played the final nine minutes of the match while Chinaza Uchendu was an unused substitute. 

    The 31-year-old tactician explained his decision to offer a cameo debut to the former Sevilla woman despite her arriving a week ago, ahead of the ex-Braga star, who joined two weeks earlier. 

    “It’s a bit early to say. Both Chinaza and Uchenna haven’t been in team training for two to five months so we need to be patient,” he continued.

    “Uchenna has a great physique so we wanted to give her the first couple of minutes to get a feel for the league and pace. Chinaza got a couple of minutes in our last friendly against Orebro.”

    In Saturday’s triumph over Vaxjo, Orji scored the opener and third goal and created the penalty for the third.

    And Unogard, who is excited over his side’s fine start to the season, hailed the impact of the Nigerian star while opening up on his team’s ambition for the season.

    “Ebere had a part in all three goals, scoring the first and third and getting us the penalty for the second one. Player of the match for sure,” he enthused. 

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    “Fantastic to start off with a win and a comfortable one as well.

    “The first half was really good and in the second half the extreme heat took its toll on the two teams, so it was important to get those early goals.

    “Hopefully we can compete with every team and fight for top-three, making it to the Champions League spots.”

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