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Henan’s new African flair

One of the most interesting singings of the Chinese Super League’s summer transfer window is an African striker, but not one named Didier Drogba. Henan Construction reached an agreement with Ghanian born, Hong Kong citizen Godfred Karikari earlier this week, their first pickup of the window.

Karikari’s move was not without controversy. He began the Hong Kong citizenship process in late 2011, but didn’t obtain full citizenship until April of this year, so the CSL was not completely sure how to treat him. This was crucial to Karikari’s move, if he was treated as a Hong Kong citizen by the CSL, he could join Henan as a domestic player, however if they didn’t recognize him as such, he’d have to take up a foreign player slot. In the end, they accepted him as a HK citizen (Karikari has featured for the Hong Kong national team twice) and accepted him as a domestic player.

The 27 year old has played in Hong Kong since 2005 and has scored 50 goals over the years. He featured for Henan over the weekend against Dalian and in their midweek cup match, where he scored a goal that helped Henan advance.

There’s been a certain African flair that has taken over in Zhengzhou, first they signed Zambian captain and African Cup of Nations MVP Christopher Katongo, then Karikari, and most recently the club has reached an agreement with Katongo’s Zambian teammate Isaac Chansa. Chansa’s now in Zhengzhou and may even see action this weekend. Chansa’s arrival also marks the departure of Argentinian striker Marcos Flores. Flores, a former Australian A-League MVP, never really found his footing with Henan and could be headed back to Australia.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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