Mamelodi Sundowns agree deal for Nigeria's Ejike Uzoenyi

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Lagos
Ejike Uzoenyi (right)

South African side Mamelodi Sundowns have confirmed the signing of Nigeria international winger Ejike Uzoenyi.

The 24-year-old emerged as the Most Valuable Player at the recent 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.

He has signed a four-year deal with The Brazilians from Enugu Rangers in Nigeria.

Uzoenyi is to be loaned straight back to Enugu Rangers, before linking up with the Tshwane side in June.

"Joining a club like Sundowns is a great deal for me because their ambitions to conquer Africa are in line with my career objectives as a player," he told the club's official website.

"The other thing that made me join the club is that Coach Pitso had a chat with me before I joined and we had a discussion about his plans for me.

"I feel that I'm ready for the challenge."

A member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa last year, Uzoenyi's career has witnessed a renaissance.

Keen to prove himself in Europe, the player opted for a loan move to French side Rennes last season.

But the left winger could not break into the squad and was unable to tie down a permanent deal at Rennes at the end of a torrid six months.

Loss of form and injury cost him a place in the national team and he was overlooked by coach Stephen Keshi during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers last year.

His career took a positive twist at the CHAN where his four goals and performance helped debutants Nigeria finish in third place in South Africa.

"It has been a tough period in my career but finally I have a reason to smile again," he told BBC Sport.

"I never stopped believing in myself, the coach gave me another chance and I didn't disappoint because God was on my side."

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