IKENWA NNABUOGOR charges La Liga new boy Kelechi Nwakali to bestride Spanish top flight like a colossus and then grab his Super Eagles shirt…
The time is now for former Golden Eaglets’ star Kelechi Nwakali to prove himself, shame his detractors and critics and show he is worth all the noise and rave reviews he has enjoyed since his schoolboy days.
It appears the floor is finally open for Nwakali to showcase his talent and grab his place both in the Super Eagles and big-time football in Spain when the new La Liga season begins.
It all seemed his game was stalling after he failed to get off to great start after winning the FIFA U17 World Cup and emerging the undisputed Most Valuable Player in Chile in 2015.
Arsenal eventually won the race for his signature, but loan spells in Holland and Portugal seemed to cast doubts on this lad, who football watchers had predicted to be one of the most sought after youngsters in world football.
Establishing himself at ‘The Gunners’ seemed even a tough task for Napoleon Bonaparte as his last loan stint at Porto II was nowhere near his best.
Huesca brought him over to Spain for a brand-new start, ending his unimpressive time in North London. His transition from Arsenal via Porto II wasn’t as swift as he needed to bring his game up to fit the Huesca style.
That took some time as Nwakali observed from the bench when he newly arrive and graduated to sub roles and the Segunda (Spanish second division) hit the home stretch.
He was only available for five games, one of which was a starter in the final league game against Sporting Gijon.
Huesca and Cadiz fought for the Segunda championship title as the race went down the wire as Nwakali and mates nicked the title on the final date, beating Sporting Gijon by the odd goal.
Welcome to La Liga, arguably the best football league in the world, close observers seem to have greeted Nwakali for the fact that the time to prove his potential to the world to see is finally here.
The former MVV Maastricht star will be gracing top-flight football again for the second time after his tentative displays for VVV Venlo in the Dutch Eredivisie in the 2017/18 season returned very little to earn him a British Work Permit for a first-team action at Arsenal.
Now the stage is different, tougher and with plenty of challenges, Nwakali will be under watch by admirers and critics and he is expected to take La Liga by the storm and reclaim his place in world football, where pundits predicted after his superlative performance at Chile 2015 U-17 World Cup.
His Chile 2015 U17 mates – Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze – have long established themselves in Europe and Super Eagles and this is the class where Nwakali is expected to belong.
Both players have attracted big spenders to break the banks for them – Osimhen on the verge of becoming the most expensive African player as Italian side SC Napoli almost completing a reported €81 million transfer from Lille and Chukwueze also billed to bulge to Villarreal bank balances soon.
Both have also cemented their places in the Eagles team and even have the AFCON 2019 bronze medals proudly hanging around their necks.
Nwakali, ordinarily, belongs to the Eagles young guns’ team, but a twist of fate has stood in his way.
He surely has the chance to reunite with his cadet team mates and forge their camaraderie forward again.
It’s indeed not late for Nwakali, at 22, his best is yet to come and La Liga will surely give him the platform to relaunch his career.
At this stage, only Nwakali can stop Nwakali!
Anything short of showing the worth he is made of in arguably the best league in the world will not do his game any good.
Talent, skill, awareness, staying power, his tank is full of them and it’s expected he will use all the goodies Spain will offer to be back in top reckoning.
Nwakali should be thanking his stars his football stormy waters have brought him ashore in Spain and the rest now is left on his young feet.
Take a bow on and start hogging the headlines for the right reasons.