Monrovia – Theo Weeks got his season at Azerbaijani club Gabala FK off to a flying start with a hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition of Georgia’s Samtredia in the first qualifying round of the 2016/2017 Uefa Europa League on June 30.
Report by: Danesius Marteh, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the start of the glamour trail to the finals, it was the first hat-trick of the 2016/17 campaign and stands as arguably the first hat-trick by a Liberian in European club competitions.
He scored his first goal on 30 minutes, on the ark of the 18-yard box, having been teed-up by Croatia under-20 international Filip Ozobic.
Weeks got his brace in the 69th minute by beating the onrushing goalie Omar Migineishvili from a pass by Estonia international Sergei Zenjov and side-footing home the ball.
But his hat-trick was a combination of class and creativity. Weeks collected the ball from a defender who tried to dribble him before he dribbled another defender and Omar to score from a tight angle.
He is the first Liberian to play for Gabala and the first to score a hat-trick for the club in the competition.
“I am happy that my first game for Gabala worked out successful. I will keep this going. I believed in the victory before the match but not expected this result and scoring three goals by myself because the opponents are really strong side and the chances were estimated equal before the game.
“But we played better and took the victory. The three goals were the first hat-trick in my career and also driven from the good teamwork. My teammates took a great role in the goals.
“I have been trying to adapt to the team and respond well to the head coach’s tasks. This helps to adapting. Now we are expected by the return match that we think will be a difficult game. So the team will prepare much better to this tie,” Weeks told gabalafc.az on July 1 with the return leg on July 7.
Weeks joined Gabala on loan from Cypriot side Ermis Aradippou for the 2016/2017 season on June 14 to reinforce their midfield, becoming the second signing after Ozobic.
He played for Vatanqa in 2007 before leaving for Turkey for five years to play for Ankaraspor (today’s Osmanlispor), MKE Ankaragücü, Çaykur Rizespor and Göztepe SK. Weeks scored a goal in 100 appearances in the Turkish Super and Premier Leagues.
In 2013, Weeks signed for FC Maritimo in Portugal and played two seasons where he scored five goals in 42 games in the league, FA and League Cups. At Ermis, Weeks scored twice in 29 appearances in the premier league and cup appearances.
Weeks has 22 international caps and a goal, having debuted in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Gambia at the Samuel Kanyon Doe sports complex on June 1, 2008.
The 26-year-old is the second Liberian to play professional football in Azerbaijan after Isaac Pupo, who signed a yearlong deal with FK Qarabağ in August 2007.
With Qarabağ, Pupo won the player of the month award and attracted interest from Turkish sides Denizlispor, Trabzonspor and Gencerbirligi.
After a season and Qarabağ’s apparent unwillingness to match his wage demands, Pupo signed for newly-promoted Azerbaijan Premier League side NBC Salyan.
After his stint in Azerbaijan, Pupo signed for Greek top-flight club Panionios FC on a five-year contract in 2010 but left after only one full season due to their financial problems.