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Former Super Eagles midfielder Seyi Olofinjana lands big Chelsea job


Former Super Eagles midfielder Seyi Olofinjana has been appointed by Chelsea to a talent management role focusing on Africa

Photo credit: Getty Images

Chelsea have appointed former Super Eagles midfielder Seyi Olofinjana to a pivotal talent management role focusing on Africa, according to The Athletic.

Olofinjana, 44, brings a wealth of experience both on and off the field to this position, aimed at enhancing the club’s recruitment and development strategies across the continent.

Olofinjana, capped 56 times by Nigeria, had an illustrious playing career, notably featuring in 147 matches and scoring 18 goals for Wolverhampton Wanderers between 2004 and 2008. His career in England also saw him play for Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke City, and Hull City, showcasing his skills across both the Championship and the Premier League. 

After retiring in 2014 following a brief stint in Norway, Olofinjana transitioned into coaching and development roles, including a significant period as loans and pathways manager at Wolves. He later served as Sporting Director at Grasshoppers Zurich in Switzerland until 2022. Olofinjana holds a UEFA Pro Coaching License, underlining his qualifications for his new role.

In his new capacity at Chelsea, Olofinjana will be responsible for making recruitment recommendations across Africa, collaborating closely with a newly-appointed scout dedicated to the region. His role aims to strengthen Chelsea’s connections in Africa, streamline the pathway for African players to the London club and its sister operation, Strasbourg, in France. 

Seyi Olofinjana

Former Super Eagles midfielder Seyi Olofinjana (Image credit: Getty Images)

Additionally, Olofinjana will support players in their transition to European football, helping them settle and adapt to their new environments.

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Olofinjana’s football journey began in Nigeria with Crown FC and Kwara United before moving to Norwegian club SK Brann in 2003. His move to Wolves a year later marked the start of his career in England. 

Beyond football, Olofinjana holds degrees in chemical engineering and sports directorship and serves as the executive director of Nigerian third division side Imperial FC. Based near his hometown of Lagos, Olofinjana has overseen the development of the club’s academy and the procurement of talent, including Taiwo Awoniyi, who joined Liverpool in 2015 and currently plays for Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea has seen tremendous success with African players over the past two decades, with stars like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, and John Obi Mikel making significant contributions to the club. However, these players were typically recruited after establishing themselves in Europe. 

The establishment of a dedicated talent management operation in Africa reflects Chelsea’s ambition to identify and nurture talent earlier in their careers, ensuring a steady pipeline of top African talent to the club.

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