Indian football transfers: Minerva Punjab FC rope in Sergio Barboza Jr and Orok Essien in a double deal
Minerva Punjab FC has completed a double foreign signing to strengthen their squad ahead of the new I-League season. The former I-League winners have secured the services of Brazilian winger Sergio Barboza Jr along with Nigerian striker Orok Orok Essien. While the African has played in the Indian circuit before, Barboza will be making his debut in this part of the world.
Barboza started his club career in Brazil and subsequently moved to clubs across central American countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. After short stints in Laos and Cambodia, he shifted his loyalties to the Indian club. Although we are not familiar with his style of play, we can expect to witness a Brazilian flavour in Minerva Punjab’s game.
Goal machine Orok Orok Essien is a familiar face having played in the I-League for Mumbai FC in the 2013-14 I-League. He also featured for East Bengal back in the 2014-15 season. Known for his prolific goal scoring record, the former Nigeria U23 International has scored regularly for each team he has played for. The striking force of Minerva Punjab FC will get a huge boost with the arrival of the foreigner.
Essien will play alongside countrymen Danjuma Kuti in the centre forward position. The inclusion of these two foreigners will give Minerva Punjab’s forward line a facelift ahead of the 2019-20 I-League. Dawda Ceesay will play a more responsible role in the midfield, he is going to be the main supply line for the Ranjit Bajaj owned team.
Minerva Punjab FC had a disastrous I-League title defence last season, having finished at the 9th position in the table. They were also eliminated in the group stages of the AFC Cup. With a new bunch of players, a new coach, they can hope for the change in fortunes in the upcoming season.