FC Helsingør adds New Zealand international Nando Pijnaker on loan from Portugal’s Rio Ave FC

Photo courtesy of New Zealand Football Association.

 All-Whites Olympian joins top-of-the-table FC Helsingør until the end of 2021

HELSINGØR (August 31, 2021) — FC Helsingør today announced it has agreed to a loan agreement with Portuguese club Rio Ave FC for New Zealand international centre back Nando Pijnaker. The loan will see Pijnaker join the NordicBet Liga-leading FC Helsingør through 31 December, 2021.

We are delighted to add Nando to our already very strong defensive group,” FC Helsingør sporting director Brian Gellert said. “He is a big, strong central defensive player that already knows and has a relationship with some of our current players. His international experience at the 2020 Olympics shows that he has the quality and talent to continue his development here in Denmark.”

Pijnaker, 22, becomes the fourth FC Helsingør player to develop from New Zealand’s Olé Academy — joining forwards Elijah Just and Callum McCowatt, and defender Dalton Wilkins (who is currently on-loan with Kolding IF). McCowatt and Pijanker were team-mates as 17-year-olds at Western Suburbs FC in New Zealand’s Central League. 

Pijanker, originally born in Brummen, Netherlands, grew up with his family in New Zealand. Following New Zealand’s 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign, Pijnaker joined Sweden’s second division Norra Götaland side Torslanda IK in January 2020. He later moved to GC Zürich and Grasshopper Club Zurich before ultimately joining Rio Ave.

At the summer Olympic games in Tokyo, Pijnaker played every minute of all four of New Zealand’s matches, including three clean sheets out of four games. Before that, he was a defensive mainstay in the New Zealand team that impressed throughout the 2019 Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

Atop the NordicBet Liga table through seven matches FC Helsingør (6-1-0, 19 points) enters the September international break two points clear of second place. Helsingør faces Skjold on Wednesday in the second round of the Sydbank Pokalen (18.00 CET | TICKETS) before returning to league action on Sept. 12 at home against Hvidovre. 

Player Profile
Name: Nando Pijnaker
Position: Defender
Height: 6-3 (1,91m)
Birthdate: 25 February, 1999 (Age: 22)
Citizenship: New Zealand
Transaction: On 31 August 2021, FC Helsingør adds defender Nando Pijnaker on-loan from Portugal’s Rio Ave FC until 31 December, 2021.