Danish Superliga. Liga 1 Indonesia. LigaPro Portugal. J.League 1. Not many players can boast such unique career movements but Ghanaian winger Emmanuel Oti Essigba is one such player. The 24-year old has just landed a move to J1 strugglers Vegalta Sendai, with the Miyagi Prefecture-based club arming themselves for a tough 2021 season ahead of them.
Vegalta, who finished 17th in the 18-team 2020 J1 season, brought in Oti as an additional attacking option from the wings for new head coach Makoto Teguramori, who is returning to Vegalta for a second stint with the men in yellow after spending the past two years at V-Varen Nagasaki. Signed from Portuguese second-tier side FC Vizela, Oti was the third new foreign player brought into the Yurtec Stadium, with Vegalta also bringing in former Urawa Red Diamonds and Yokohama F. Marinos player Quenten Martinus of Curacao and Serbian Nedeljko Stojisic. The trio will join former FC Barcelona graduate Isaac Cuenca, Polish goalkeeper Jakub Slowik, and Mozambican Simao Mate Junior at the club.
Oti’s signing was confirmed by both Vegalta and his agency, Insa Project Global Group, on Wednesday. The Insa Project Global Group is a Malaysia-based agency for football players founded by Johor Darul Ta’zim player Kiko Insa, who also has the likes of Indonesia internationals Syahrian Abimanyu and Stefano Lilipaly as well as Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda’s Weerawat Jiraphaksiri as their clients.
“Many congratulations for our player, Emmanuel Oti Essigba, who has been signed by J.League 1 side Vegalta Sendai,” the Insa Project Global Group announced on their official Instagram.
Oti had initially turned out for Madura United for the 2020 Liga 1 Indonesia season, arriving at the Gelora Ratu Pamelingan Stadium from recently-relegated Danish Superliga side Esbjerg fB. Unfortunately the league was suspended and eventually cancelled after just three rounds of matches due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Oti to cancel his contract with Madura United after turning out for the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab in all of their three Liga 1 matches. Seeking out vital game time, Oti linked up with LigaPro Portugal side Vizela on a short-term contract, where he spent the remainder of 2020 before joining Vegalta once his contract with the Portuguese side ran out.