IKENWA NNABUOGOR tells a story of a very rare breed of player whose one-touch football was somehow overlooked by his county’s team…
In truth, Dominic Chatto’s style doesn’t belong here in Africa, his one-touch football is well domiciled in Europe where the Kaduna-born midfielder has been playing since he left the shores of Nigeria.
Sadly, he didn’t attract the attention of Super Eagles handlers as his brilliance made headlines in the Scandinavia where he played most of his career.
This has left the press and fans wondering why he was not appreciated by the handlers of his country’s national team.
Perhaps, spending most of his playing days in the Scandinavia may well be the cause.
It’s baffling that a player who was so technically gifted has yet to raise his bar to a very appreciable level not withstanding this awareness and ability.
Finnish agent Marko Saranlinna and his Nigerian partner, Hilary Azodo, were the first to be alerted of this Kaduna-born star’s special talent and never wasted time in shipping him out to Finland and the rest was history for Finnish top side Inter Turku.
It was not surprising he emerged the Finnish top flight’s Players’ Player of the season in 2008. This feat was after he was named third best player in the league in his very first season in Finland.
Chatto was produced at Pepsi Academy and after unsuccessful trials at Blackburn Rovers, Dynamo Kiev and Brondby, he chose to return to Nigeria to wait for the right time to move rather than accept Blackburn’s option of a loan move to Belgium’s Cercle Brugge tied with a clause of waiting for three months before being eligible to play.
Such was the confidence Chatto had in himself that when he finally arrived in Europe for a pro career, his path had been charted.
Chatto never believed in keeping ball on his feet, showboating, dribbling and killing attacks. He believed time shouldn’t be wasted at all and opportunities at goal must be maximised at all time.
His agent Saralinna said Chatto was one of the most gifted technical players he has seen in the world.
“With or without the ball, Chatto is amazing and his vision is Maradona-like,” Saralinna assured.
“I was wondering what he was doing in Nigeria when I came to scout him, were agents not seeing him?”
He added: “Injuries were not fair to him, otherwise the world would have seen a wonderful rare player in him.”
Great chances at goal created and narrowly missed were most of the time initiated a la Chatto’s one-touch passing technique in his clubs he has played for.
Chatto was just too big for Finnish football when he won the league title at Inter Turku and had to move across the border to continue his one-touch passing game at Swedish club BK Hacken.
His telepathic relationship with fellow Nigerian John Chibuike in the heart of Hacken midfield still has a place in the history books of the modest club based in Gothenburg.
His and Chibuike’s images were used as advert campaigns for products to underline their importance at Hacken.
Injuries were also the uninvited guests in his career that stood in his way of playing big-time football in Europe.
Many times top French, Spanish and Italian clubs came knocking on his doors, but the recurring injuries denied him the chance of getting well appreciated a la his self-styled brand of one-touch football.
Chatto returned to Sweden two years ago after a brief spell in Kazakhstan.
At 34 and now on the flip side of his career, Chatto may have lost his chance to show off his one-touch football in his country’s colours, but you surely know he deserved a place.
We may have to take a long time to behold another Dominic Chatto in Nigerian football.