Could Bukayo Saka’s decision to dump Nigeria for England have been a tough one gone seriously wrong with the scandalous racial abuse rained on him for missing a penalty kick against Italy at the Euro 2020 final, ponders IKENWA NNABUOGOR…
Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka was rained racial abuses for missing the Three Lions decisive penalty kick at Sunday’s Euro 2020 Final at Wembley as Italy won the lottery 3-2 to win their second Euro title
Saka, alongside other two black players – Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho – missed his kick as Italy converted three of their five kicks to run away with the title from the teeming expectant English fans.
England had endured a 55-year wait to get on to the final of a major football event after they won the 1966 World Cup at the same Wembley they infamously let the Azzuris “go Rome” with the title.
The Gareth Southgate-led side bestrode Wembley bolstered up by the country’s fans’ message “Coming Home” and expectedly translated same huge confidence on the pitch as the early first half belonged to the Three Lions before the Azzuris struck in the second half to even scores before the eventual lottery of penalties.
Rashford and Sancho, two extra time introductions missed their kicks as Italy’s deadly penalty taker Jorginho surprisingly played a tame effort into Jonathan Pickford’s hands, leaving England’s last hope Saka to steer his adopted country back from the dead.
But fate had other plans for the youngster as his infantile effort instantly made goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma a national hero in Italy and the eventual Euro 2020 Most Valuable Players, leaving the English eyes crying and resorting to racial abuses and physical assaults on the visiting Italian fans.
The “golden boy” of The Three Lions, Saka, who would have become an instant hit with his father’s country’s national team, Nigeria, had he accepted the offer, suddenly became the fall guy as torrents of racial abuses continue to tear him apart, leaving him in tatters and probably cursing his luck.
Even the Royal Family is not pleased with the abuses Saka and his co-penalty kick losers have been subjected to as it has condemned the shameful acts in strong terms.
Could Saka have regretted dumping Nigeria owing to the racial abuses he has suffered since the unfortunate Wembley Sunday?
Could choosing England ahead of Nigeria have been a terrible mistake knowing fully well he would be the biggest face of the Super Eagles if he had decided otherwise?
What about the massive psychological trauma he may suffer for losing the crucial kick and receiving such unacceptable racial abuse?
What confidence would he fall back on to dust himself up in an England shirt in subsequent games?
Is it all over for him in an England shirt?
Where does he go from here?
Some would believe that all these posers would have laid to rest had he chosen to play for the Super Eagles, the team considered the best in Africa.
Be that as it may, things may not remain the same for Saka in an England shirt especially for a player who had been held in high esteem before the infamous penalty loss, and even played ahead of Jack Grealish and Manchester United record signing, Jordan Sancho.
It could take a long walk for Saka at nine appearances thus far for England, to match the England appearances of fellow players of Nigerian descent, Dele Alli and Ross Barkley, who appeared 37 and 33 times, respectively.
Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham comes in distant next with just six appearances for his England sweat as John Salako trails with five appearances while the likes of Gabriel Agbonhalor (4), late Ugo Ehiogu (4), John Fashanu (2), Fikayo Tomori (1) could well pass as cameos for the Three Lions.