It’s being a while we saw a player in Super Eagles shirt hold the ball with so much confidence, finesse, grace and skill. It’s being a while we saw a player in Super Eagles shirt carry the ball and take the fight to the opponents thus forcing them to comit errors leading to goals.
It’s being a while we saw a left footed attacker in Super Eagles shirt dazzle on the flank with the ball like Adokiye Amiesimaka, Felix Owolabi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Humphrey Edobor or Friday Elaho to mention a few. It’s being a while we saw a player in Super Eagles shirt bear the responsibility of spearheading the team’s attacking onslaught…..Every attack is led by him like the team’s talisman.
Indeed, 20-year old Samuel Chukwueze has stepped forward on account of his sterling performance against Bafana Bafana of South Africa as that player. He is the new kid on the block. A lad with a lion’s heart. An attacking machine who runs down defenders and defence walls.
The Villareal attacker is still work in progress. He is like raw gold which still needs to go through the fire to shine. Part of that fire is this AFCON tournament. By the time he is fully loaded with experience on big occasions like this, he will smash records and create some.
From Egypt 2019 AFCON, I hope he makes it to Tokyo 2020 Olympics to gather more international experience and exposure….so that by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, the world can see another star from Africa.
The last Nigerian player to win the African Footballer of the Year award was Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 after Rashidi Yekini, Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba….It is not an exaggeration to say Chukwueze is in line to return that honour to Nigeria in no distance future. He possesses the qualities and plays for a big European club as well.
It won’t come as a surprise though, if, he lands a big deal before the start of the 2019/2020 season on account of his five-star showings in Egypt. Already Villareal has slammed a whopping €63m price tag on him. This is not too big for clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United. Once this lad lands such deal then, the best of him will manifest instantly because he is a big occasion player who needs bigger challenges.
It won’t also come as a surprise if he makes CAF Best 11 of Egypt 2019 AFCON. Though, the game against South Africa is his first full game but should he repeat same performance in the semis and possibly in the final then, he is only going to make the team of the tournament but could even emerge as player of the tournament.
Indeed, a new star has been born for Nigeria football. Well done lad….beyond the skies is your starting point. Soar for the stars like the real Eagle you are….
By Desmond Ekwueme