Jailed footballers dreamed of joining Chelsea

Two Nigerian footballers who claimed to have played for their national team and dreamed of joining Chelsea are in a Russian jail after being caught with forged British passports, their lawyer said in a newspaper interview today.

Oke Chukwu, 33, and Chinedu Okeke, 25, first arrived in Russia last September and tried to secure a deal with a Russian club, lawyer Mikhail Laznikov told the Izvestia daily.

But Russian soccer promoters, who already enlisted other Nigerians in leading soccer teams in Russia, said they had never heard of a Chukwu or Okeke.

The two Nigerians then decided to go west, believing they could play for Chelsea or another European club, and bought fake British passports, said the lawyer.

The pair were detained as they travelled by train to Ukraine in November and are now awaiting trial in a detention centre in the Bryansk region on Russia’s western border with Ukraine.

They face up to two years in prison for illegally crossing the border and possessing forged documents.


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