QPR given boost in transfer race for 'fantastic' AFCON star

Marti Cifuentes could be in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer.Marti Cifuentes could be in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer.
Marti Cifuentes could be in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer. | Getty Images
QPR have been linked with a transfer move for the Nigeria international, who could be available on a free transfer come the end of the season.

QPR could reignite reported transfer interest in Nigeria international goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali this summer with news that the shot-stopper could be available as a free agent come the end of the season.

The Championship outfit was linked with a move for the player in January, but a transfer did not come to fruition. Transfer talk came after Nwabali impressed between the sticks for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 27-year-old helped his national side to the final of the tournament, where they were beaten by hosts Ivory Coast, but turned heads in the process. He is currently playing at South African side Chippa United, where he has kept nine clean sheets in 20 league outings this term.

Nwabali set to become free agent

South African outlet Soccer Laduma reports that Nwabali will not sign an extension with Chippa United at the end of the season with the South African club targeting Orlando Pirates’ Richard Ofori as a replacement. The goalkeeper could then be available on a free transfer for QPR.

There remain questions over the future of Asmir Begovic in the Rs' goal, with a new face in goal seeming one of the more obvious moves for Marti Cifuentes to make this summer. Begovic has come under fire from supporters at times this season, despite backing from the Catalan coach, and is already 36 years old. The former Chelsea and Stoke City man only signed a one-year deal last summer, so is due to quit Loftus Road at the end of the campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Peter Rufai: ‘His ability is fantastic’

Nwabili was praised by former Nigeria number one and 1994 AFCON winner Peter Rufai for his efforts in this year's competition. Rufai said: "During the start of the AFCON, in the first match against Equatorial Guinea, that was my first time seeing Stanley Nwabali. After observing his performance, his movement, communication, and composure, I immediately thought to myself that Nigeria had finally solved the problem of finding a reliable goalkeeper for the Super Eagles.

"Throughout the tournament, Nwabali continued to grow, maintaining dominance in the six and sixteen-yard areas of the field. His ability to anticipate and read the game was fantastic. There was a moment when Nwabali came nearly 30-40 meters away from his goal to prevent a potential threat to the Super Eagles."

QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is currently due to leave at the end of the season.QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is currently due to leave at the end of the season.
QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is currently due to leave at the end of the season. | Getty Images

Nwabili speaks out on future

Union St Gilloise and Al Ettifaq are also reported to be interested in the AFCON star, but Nwabili recently admitted that he is yet to hear of concrete interest from any suitors. He told FARPost: “You see, to be honest, I’ve never seen anything on my table ever since AFCON. Maybe those clubs might have spoken to my team or my manager. But at this point, we can’t do anything.

“And they can’t approach me because it would be unprofessional. They must go to my club or my manager. So I don’t know if there’s something on the table maybe waiting for towards summer or transfer window. You know most clubs always do this. When they show interest, you’re opening the way to some other clubs.

“So, some people always keep it a secret, and when they get you, they get you once. For now, I know nothing.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.