‘What’s the point?’ Nwabali queries wisdom of PSL exit

Super Eagles and Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali has shed light on why South Africa-based footballers opt to play in the domestic league rather than pursue a career in Europe.

The 27-year-old has become a household name in South Africa on the back of his heroics at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024), where he emerged as one of the most important players in the Super Eagles setup.

However, it was the game against Bafana Bafana that shot him to fame. He saved two South African penalties and earned Nigeria a place in the final, only to lose to the host nation, Ivory Coast.

Nwabali joined his current employers two years ago, and has since become a mainstay in their setup.

Prior to his move to Chippa United, he had played in every tier of football in Nigeria, from non-league to the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Nwabali highlights South Africa's appeal for footballers in candid interview

In a recent interview with Far Post, Nwabali said,

“Ronwen Williams is at Sundowns, he gets everything he wants, he’s got the name, the sponsor, his family is here, everyone is supporting him, he’s the captain of Bafana Bafana, to me the league is okay.”

“The league, the pay is little bit nice for [depending on] a certain level of your team.

“It’s not like in the West Africa where our leagues are not that much good. We want to go to Europe, we want to go come to South Africa, we want to go to Morocco, all those kind of leagues, if your league is nice there’s no point of you leaving.”

Stanley Nwabali
Photo by Icon Sport

“If your league is nice, you’re getting paid, you’re getting sponsors, what are you leaving for?

“If you want to challenge yourself, you can still leave. It depends on you if you can cope there, if you can’t cope there, it’s fine to just come back and play your football.”

Where is Stanley Nwabali headed next season?

In recent months, the Nigeria goalkeeper has been linked with South African clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, as well as English Championship club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) and Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.

However, it has now been revealed that Nwabali has always harbored a dream of playing for Kaizer Chiefs. According to Chippa United’s goalkeeper coach Sean Louw, Nwabali confided in him that it has been his childhood ambition to wear the Amakhosi jersey.

Louw further disclosed that Nwabali was eager to join Kaizer Chiefs at the start of the season, and would have made the move if the club had made an offer to Chippa United.

“Between you and me his childhood dream was to always play for Kaizer Chiefs, but even me, my childhood dream was to play for Kaizer Chiefs, I don’t blame him,” Louw told SABC Sport.

“In the beginning of this season, he wanted to play for Kaizer Chiefs, but I said to him before you speak to Kaizer Chiefs, first go to AFCON because you will win the AFCON and you will be worth so much more than [you would be] at Kaizer Chiefs with all due respect.”

Stanley Nwabali
Photo by Icon Sport

Nwabali has also attracted interest from Saudi Pro League clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Ettifaq, and Chippa United's goalkeeper trainer believes the Nigerian would thrive under Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq, in addition to earning a lucrative contract.

“I would love for him to join Steven Gerrard in Saudi Arabia, and I can give many reasons why, number one – it’s Arab money and number two you are coached by the legend of the game who is willing to understand how the game is being played now,” Louw added. 

Key factor in any Nwabali transfer

In March, Nwabali's agent Mohammed Lawal revealed the key factor that could determine the player's next club.

Lawal emphasised the importance of regular playing time to maintain his standing within the Super Eagles. Lawal, speaking to the media, highlighted the 27-year-old's pivotal role in the national team, as demonstrated during the recent AFCON tournament.

“Stanley Nwabali has to be playing regularly for his new club so as not to affect his place in the Super Eagles,” Lawal stated.

“He showed at the AFCON he has a place in the national team, and he wishes to stay there for as long as possible.”

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.