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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 13:57 GMT
Babangida optimistic
Tijani Babangida (13)
Tijjani Babangida in action for the Super Eagles
By BBC Sport Online's Mark Gleeson

Nigeria's Tijjani Babangida is determined to resurrect his career in the Netherlands and put a nightmare couple of seasons at Ajax Amsterdam firmly behind him.

The 27-year-old winger moved at the start of the season from Ajax to Vitesse Arnhem, the club coached by former Barcelona defender Ronald Koeman.

Babangida, the hero of Nigeria's qualification for the World Cup finals, says Vitesse Arnhem presents him with an ideal opportunity to prove his class.

Ajax are no longer an attraction for young African players - they scare you.
Tijjani Babangida
In an interview with a Dutch magazine, Babangida says he was treated badly at Ajax despite being one of the club's more experienced players.

Last year he was sent to play in the reserves after returning from the Nations Cup finals in his home country.

He was then loaned out to Turkish side Genclerbirligi, who fined him US$30,000 when he went off to play for the Super Eagles in a Nations Cup qualifier against Zambia.

"Ajax are no longer an attraction for young African players. They scare you," said Babangida.

"I still love the club but cannot see myself playing there again."

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman signed Tijjani Babangida at Vitesse Arnhem
Babangida says he was keen to leave Holland and seek greener pastures elsewhere.

"I wanted to clear my mind and try another football culture in another country. I had concluded negotiations with Auxerre when Ronald Koeman called and when Koeman asks you to play for him, there is no hesitation.

"I have experience and this club has a young squad quite capable of finishing in the top three in the league.

"On top of that, I know the playing system here and enjoy myself wide on the right. I have the pleasure of playing football again."

See also:

20 Jul 01 |  Africa
Babangida moves to Vitesse
18 Sep 00 |  Charlton Athletic
Charlton's Ajax swoop
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