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  Friday, 26 July, 2002, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Hot talent blossoms in Russian winter
Thierry Henry takes on Jerry-Christian Tchuisse in the Champions League
Tchuisse (right) was nearly Russia's first black player

For decades Africans have headed to Moscow to study but it is only in recent years that footballers have started the trek to the cold climes of Russia too.

The success of the Cameroonian defender Jerry-Christian Tchuisse at Spartak Moscow has opened doors for fellow Africans although the career of the Indomitable Lion now looks on the racks.

Tchuisse went to Russia as a student but showed so much prowess playing for an amateur team that he quickly found his way to Spartak Moscow, going on to feature in the Uefa Champions League.

He came close to becoming the first black player to feature for Russia after being granted citizenship but was sick when his first call-up came and then opted for his home country instead.

Impressive signings

Since Lokomotiv Moscow has also signed African players with the money they have earned from European club competition and have been particularly pleased with the signings of Nigerian striker James Obiorah and South African defender Jacob Lekgetho.

Lokomotiv lead the Russian league this year, which is played over the calendar year because of the extreme winter weather in the country.

Jacob Lekgetho in Champions League action against Roma
Lekgetho (right) has impressed at Lokomotiv
Lokomotiv, who also have another South African Bennett Mnguni on their books, lead by three points from the army club CSKA, with 36 points from 17 games.

But CSKA played two fewer matches.

Champions Spartak also have 33 points from 17 games Nigerians Patrick Ovie and Duke Udi have been competing in recent weeks for Krylya Sovetov in the Inter-Toto Cup, where they are in the Netherlands this weekend for the second leg of their third round tie against Willem II Tilburg.


New seasons kick off
See also:

24 Jul 02 | Africans abroad
26 Jul 02 | Africa
24 Jul 02 | Africa
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