The latest signing of young and enterprising midfielder Allen Njei by FC Grasshopper Zurich of Switzerland just shows how the local league in Liberia is clouded with an avalanche of promising youngsters, eagerly relishing the opportunity to showcase in some of Europe’s elite leagues.
Allen Njei, the 19 year old midfielder, has fallen in the nest of 27 times Swiss champions Grasshopper Zurich, a club that have also won the Swiss Cup 19 times. Though the former LISCR and Pepper FC holding midfielder will reportedly start from the youth system, probably the U-21, it won’t take long however to progress to the first team as the 51 year old Coach and former German footballer Thisten Frink will be hoping his Liberian import move quickly to the top flight side as a means of augmenting his side midfield.
The club founded 132 years ago, is one of Europe’s highly respected clubs and Njei has the potential to grow into a mega star.Having emerged as Most Valuable Player in the WAFU U-20 Group B where Liberia ended as runners-up to Gambia, losing 1-0 in the grand final in May 2018, has developed into a hardworking midfielder and is a mainstay for the Lone Star under Thomas Kojo as he put up some solid display against Congo DR, Congo Brazzaville and Zimbabwe.
Njei becomes the second Liberian to join Grasshopper Zurich after goalkeeper Louis Crayton styled for the club from 1998 to 2000.Allen becomes the seventh Liberian footballer to move to Switzerland after former international Jonathan Boys Charles Sogbie featured for Luzern and Servette. Other Liberians who played there were Josephus Yenay of Lucern, Joe Nagbe, Lugano and Bill Neewray and Janjay Innis.
Arguably the most notable African to ply his trade in Switzerland was Samuel Opoku Nti who featured for three Swiss clubs with his move to FC Baden under Otmar Hitzfield proving worthy.
Nti was Ghana’s best player in the early and mid 80’s and was voted Africa’s sports writers player of the year in 1983.
The former Ghanaian forward was Most Valuable Player in the Zone- lll Eight Nations tournament in 1987 won by the Black Stars of Ghana in winning over hosts Liberia Lone Star in the grand final 2-1 on February 8,1987 with goals from Tony Yeboah and Sarfo Gymfi as substitute Francis Mayonga Jallah got the hosts consolation.
Thus, Allen Njei has moved to another chapter in his budding career, and one quick caution is God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Its up to him to be transformed into a star. Congratulations to young Njei.
source|Welh Bedell , Contributor