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M City signs three foreign players

Ethiopian Premier League’s (EPL) newest club Mekele City FC (M City) announced the inclusion of three new foreign players to its squad on Wednesday. The three players joining Mekele include two Ghanaians and one from Equatorial Guinea.

For the 2017/18 EPL season, Mekele City signed the Equatoguinean goalkeeper Felipe Ovono Mbang. According to club officials, the goalie will join Mekele on a one year contract. The Equatoguinean international was part of the squad which represented the country at the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

Since his debuted with Equatoguinean first division club Sony Ela Nguema, Ovono won several league titles with the team and consequently secured a spot at the national team. In 2013, Ovono signed with Deportivo Mongom (another Equatoguinean club) and later from 2015 to 2017 played with the South African side, Orlando Pirates.

In July 2017, he returned to his former club Sony Ela Nguema where he stayed briefly before signing a one year contract with the Northern Ethiopian side. In due consideration to the lack of goalkeepers in Ethiopia, this signing will be crucial for the EPL newcomers.

Meanwhile, Mekele also announced the signing of two new defenders from Ghana. Michael Akuffu, a Ghanaian professional footballer, who plays as defensive midfielder or a right back for Asante Kotoko and the Ghana national team, is one of the new inclusions to M City this year.

He began his professional football career in Feyenoord Football Academy Sporting Club in 2006, which is the biggest football academy in Ghana founded in 1998 by Feyenoord from Rotterdam. He then played for various Ghana Premier League clubs. Akuffu is also part of national team and helped the Ghanaian national team, which finished in second place at the 2014 African nation’s championships.

Meanwhile, another Ghana center back, Masalachi Baba Adam also signed for Northern outfit Mekele City after his contract with Lebanon side Al Ijatimai expired.  The 23 years old joined the Lebanese top flight side in 2015 from second tier Steadfast FC.

Mekele City is a newly promoted club in Ethiopian Premier League which is for the first time in the club’s history. Apart from Mekele, Jimma and Welwalo Adigrat are the other clubs which have secured a place at EPL for the first time in the 2017/18 season. EPL is expected to start late October and all clubs are very busy signing senior, experienced foreign players. According to reports, the presence of foreign players in Ethiopian football league is increasing overtime.

Recently, many West African players are also showing interest to play in EPL following the competent salary structure that clubs are offering these days. Last week, around six Ghanaian players have joined clubs competing in EPL. Sidama Coffee signed three Ghana players in preparation for the upcoming season.

Former Asnate Kotoko striker Seidu Bancy also announced his move to Arbaminch City. The 27- year old signed a two year contract with Egyptian premier league club Smouha Sporting club in September 2014.

Before 2014, Bancy played for an Egyptian side but both the club and the player mutually agreed to terminate the contract due to the situation in Egypt. He then became the sixth Ghanaian player to join EPL.