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QPR, Al-Ettifaq join Nwabali race

Following his impressive performance at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, stock continues to rise with two clubs recently expressing interests in signing the shot stopper, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

According to reports, EFL Championship side Queens Park Rangers and Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Ettifaq are both eyeing a swoop for the 27-year-old goalkeeper.

Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano on Sunday wrote on his X handle that the Nigerian was a major target for clubs but added that both QPR and Al-Ettifaq are keen on securing Nwabali’s services, with Chippa United open to considering offers during the upcoming summer transfer window.

“Nigeria GK Stanley Nwabali, on the list of different clubs as Al Ettifaq in Saudi and Queens Park Rangers in UK have enquired about him,” he wrote.

“His South African club Chippa United will consider his future move in the next months.”

Though he started his career in the Nigeria Premier League playing for Go Round FC, Enyimba, Lobi Stars and Katsina United before signing for the South African side in 2022 but Nwabali gained much attention when Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro decided to invite him to the Eagles squad few weeks before the start of the AFCON.

Nwabali repaid Peseiro’s faith in him by producing a sterling performance at the tournament, keeping four clean sheets in seven matches during the AFCON tournament.

The Chippa United shot-stopper also became fans favourite after his heroic penalty saves helped Nigeria beat South Africa 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals with Nwabali walking away with the man of the match award.

Upon his return to South Africa last Tuesday, Nwabali was greeted by hundreds of Chippa United fans who came out to welcome him on his arrival at Port Elizabeth Airport.

Having enjoyed overwhelming support from the club, Nwabali said he wished to repay the club by staying for at least another two years, albeit saying it’s unlikely.

It is however looking likely that the Nigerian may ply his trade elsewhere next season.

While QPR and Al-Ettifaq are the latest clubs to be linked with the goalkeeper, Nwabali has also attracted interest from various clubs, including Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, the former club of Victor Boniface, who are eager to strengthen their squad.

Despite the transfer rumors circulating online, Nwabali remains focused on his current club, Chippa United, as he awaits concrete offers.

“I only see offers online. I have never seen any offer on my table,” Nwabali added.

In the midst of his newfound fame, Nwabali insists now is the time for him to double his efforts.

“I am still Stanley. I want to work harder than before now. If I was putting in 100 per cent before, now I have to double that because a lot of people are looking up to me now,” he stated.

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