The Central Coast Mariners can confirm that A-League Championship winning forward Béni Nkololo has been granted a release from his contract on compassionate grounds to sign with a Saudi Arabian club.
Joining the Mariners before the 2021/22 season, the Frenchman signed for the club after spending his early career playing in both Ligue 2 and the French National League.
After officially touching down on the Central Coast in September 2021, Nkololo made an instant impact, scoring the only goal in his first game for the club against Blacktown City in the Australia Cup.
Nkololo went from strength to strength after that, finishing the 2021/22 campaign with eight goals and two assists, while also winning the Mariners Goal Of The Season award for his stunning strike against Melbourne City.
The Frenchman continued to be a serious attacking force during his second season, again scoring his first goal of the new campaign in the Australia Cup.
Nkololo went on to score nine goals in all competitions and grab two assists, ultimately playing a key role in our Championship success.
He started in 24 of his 26 A-League appearances in the 2022/23 season, playing over 1900 total minutes. The winger played all 90 minutes in our Grand Final victory, heading home the Mariners’ fifth goal of the game before assisting the sixth.
Nkololo finishes his time at the Mariners with 17 goals, leaving the A-League as the competition’s highest scoring French player.
Mariners Head Coach Nick Montgomery wishes Nkololo well for the future and thanks him for the time he has spent on the Central Coast.
“Beni has been a fantastic contributor at the club and will always cherish his time in Australia and at the Central Coast Mariners. At the time we signed Beni, he was at a tough place in his career and was not fulfilling the huge potential he had,” Montgomery said.
“I don’t think anyone can doubt the impact and quality he showed during his time on the Central Coast and he played a big part in our success last season.
“With Beni’s desire to be closer to family in France I was not going to stand in his way and after numerous offers and interest, Beni felt this was the time for him to move on. He leaves with my blessing and we all wish him and his family well for his future.”
Nkololo thanks everyone in the Mariners Family for the last two seasons and wishes them the very best.
“Thank you to Monty, Sergio and all of the staff for helping me during my Mariners journey. Thank you to my incredible teammates who have been amazing to work with every day and thank you to the fans that make the Central Coast special,” Nkololo said.
“The last two seasons have been amazing, I will never forget my time with the Mariners. I met many fantasic people who made the Coast feel like home and winning the A-League Championship was the perfect way to finish my time with the club. Farewell Mariners family and thank you.”