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Africans to watch in the Champions League

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Everton appeal against Yakubu work permit decision

LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The 11.25 million pound ($22.53 million) transfer of Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni from Middlesbrough cannot be completed because the striker has been refused a new work permit, buying club Everton said on Sunday. Although the 24-year-old has played in England since January 2003 when he joined Portsmouth from Maccabi Haifa, he quit playing for Nigeria in 2006 so now fails to meet the British Home Office requirement of involvement in 75 percent of his country's internationals in the last two years. Everton said on their Web site (www.evertonfc.com) they have appealed against the decision and expect to hear the result on Wednesday. Yakubu left Portsmouth for Middlesbrough in 2005 and has scored 35 goals in 104 cup and league appearances for the north east club. He played in Middlesbrough's first two games of the season but has not featured in their last two, including Sunday's 2-2 draw against Newcastle United. Everton, who will compete in this season's UEFA Cup, decided to move for Yakubu after selling James Beattie to relegated Sheffield United and losing two key attacking players, Tim Cahill and James Vaughan, to injuries. A Middlesbrough spokesman said the clubs had agreed a fee for the player but that the deal had not yet been completed.