Rovers complete transfer of Nando Pijnaker

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce that defender Nando Pijnaker will join the club for the 2023 season after the club have concluded a permanent transfer for the New Zealand International from his parent club Rio Ave in the Portuguese Premier Division.

The highly sought after 23-year-old spent the 2022 season on loan at The Showgrounds from Rio Ave and impressed throughout the season with many top-class performances at both right and left side centre back.

Pijnaker is currently a New Zealand Senior International having made 11 caps so far for the All Whites including starting in their recent World Cup Qualifying campaign.

Nando made the move to Europe from New Zealand by joining Swedish side Torslanda IK from Eastern Suburbs. He then joined Swedish giants Grasshopper before completing a move to Portuguese top tier side Rio Ave in 2020.

John Russell and Bit O’ Red officials made Nando a priority signing and the confirmation that the transfer is now concluded having reached agreement with Rio Ave is a welcome boost ahead of the 2023 season which starts in February with a home game against Shamrock Rovers at The Showgrounds.

Rovers Manager Russell is thrilled to have Nando for 2023:

‘’I’m delighted Nando has agreed to sign on a permanent deal. I’d like to thank his agent Bruno Meirelles and his former club Rio Ave for their cooperation in getting this deal done.

‘’Nando is a player of immense quality. He is a current International and he has all the attributes to play at the highest level.

‘’He is a top professional and someone who is very driven and always willing to listen and learn. I feel he can take his game to another level in 2023.

‘’I’m sure the fans will be excited to see Nando back at The Showgrounds’’.

Living in the heart of Sligo Town, Nando has made the switch to Sligo with ease and has settled in well to life in the North-West.

Pijnaker says he is delighted to get the deal done:

‘’I am delighted to be back at The Showgrounds for next season.

‘’I have really enjoyed my time in Sligo so far and I was keen to come back here on a permanent basis.

‘’I wish to thank everyone at Rio Ave for helping me in my career and I am looking forward to my future here at The Showgrounds.

‘’The supporters and the town in general have been so welcoming to me and made me feel at home’’.

Nando and his Sligo Rovers team-mates return to pre-season training in two weeks before a seven-week pre-season training programme.

Season Tickets are available right up to kick off on the opening day and they are best available online at

It is expected that the opening game of the season will be an all-ticket game with a huge crowd set to come to get behind John Russell and the team.