Once the pin up boy of Nigeria's goalkeeping prospects after his exploits in Under-17 football, great things were expected of Dele Alampasu. However, less than 10 years after wowing Nigeria fans en route to eventually winning the 2013 Under-17 world cup, the 25 year old net minder has faded into obscurity.
Quite frankly, no one seems to know what he is currently up to.
Having been released by modest Portuguese outfit Feirense in 2020 after spending about four wretched years at the club (where he barely made 5 appearances in that whole period), the Abuja born gloves-man managed to sign for Latvian Premier League side Ventspil in February 2020 after spending a number of weeks in Nigeria unattached.
Very many Nigeria fans were ecstatic about the move. Although Latvian league is average at best, it was believed that Alampasu would finally get his ailing career back on track. It was hoped that he would at least get valuable game time to sharpen his skills and then leverage his performances to attract interests from more reputable clubs in mainstream European leagues.
It was not to be.
Sadly, two years after signing for Ventspil, Alampasu is now currently clubless with information about his whereabouts as scarce as snowflakes in Nigeria.
The question on many a lips is: where did it go wrong for this once promising footballer and why is he no longer employed by Ventspil?
Many theories have surfaced with many observers suggesting that Alampasu was released by the Latvian club after his poor performances made him glaringly surplus to requirements.
Indeed, Alampasu's star failed to shine in Ventspil. It was widely expected that this precocious and extremely talented goalkeeper (who ordinarily should be playing at a higher level) would easily tie down a starting 11 slot at this modest club but that expectation proved to be a false dawn. Out of 27 league matches in his first season, Alampasu managed only 6 appearances, a clear indication of how difficult he was finding football life in Latvia.
A return to the Super Eagles squad for August friendlies in 2020 failed to upheave his fortunes as he only watched proceedings from the bench against Algeria and Tunisia.
Although he made five league appearances out of eleven for Ventspil in 2021, the club didn't win any of those games with Dele conceding eleven goals in the process; a telling affirmation of how dire and unproductive his stay in Ventspil had become.
His last game for the club was the 3:2 away loss to FC Daugavpils on 17 June 2021.
What is interesting however is that, contrary to popular held belief in many quarters, Alampasu didn't leave Ventspil as a result of his underwhelming displays. Far from it. The truth is that he could still have stayed in the club and perhaps rediscover his form thereby eventually turning his fortunes around.
But, the club Ventspil is no longer in operation!
On 9 June 2021, UEFA banned FK Ventspils from participating in UEFA club competitions for the next seven years (i.e. up to and including the 2027–28 season) for violating UEFA regulations related to "fraud, bribery and/or corruption" and for "violation of the integrity of matches and competitions".
The club was subsequently disbanded with all its staff and players released. Hence Alampasu had to leave and look for a new club elsewhere.
Unfortunately, owing to his impecunious outputs for Ventspil, it is no suprise that other Latvian clubs have been reluctant to snap him up since Ventspil's demise.
Hopefully Alampasu will find a new suitor soon. But hopes of seeing him fulfill his huge potentials of 2013 are fading by each passing day.
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