It really should come as no surprise to fans that beanpole striker Sadiq Umar places promotion to the elite Spanish La Liga ahead of his personal goals record. This is because his staunchest critics are always quick to point to the fact that the 2016 Olympics ace is not a proven goals scorer at the highest level. This is an achilles heel Umar, 24 years old, is dying to face head on and put to rest once and for all because, once he proves his goals credentials in the La Liga, his reputation as a proven goals scorer across levels of football would be established and more or less cemented. His previous stints at elite level football were largely forgettable apart from his time at NAC Breda in Holland where he chalked up 5 goals and 3 assists across 12 games in 2018. The consensus then was that he needed to build up on this with another stellar season at top flight before people can start taking him seriously. He then moved to Rangers in the Scottish Premier league which proved to be the ultimate disaster. Later mockingly labelled as "the Rangers flop" by the Scottish Press, Umar failed to impress, managing only 4 league outings with no goal before having his loan deal ignominiously cut short. Before that, he had also failed to impress at the Italia Serie A with his parent club Roma in 2016. As a result, after leaving Rangers, many had more or less written Umar off as a credible centre forward in club football, let alone for the Super Eagles. At that point, no self-respecting fan will dare clamour for his invitation to the national team without being chased by an angry mob with sticks!
However, public opinion about Umar's credentials started to drift towards a more favourable direction following his exploits at Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian league where he would go on to amass an incredible 23 goals and 19 assists across 52 games between 2019 and 2020. But, even these incredible numbers were not enough to sway his staunchest doubters who were always quick to point out the low calibre of the Serbian league as a stain on what would have been a truly remarkable goals-to-games ratio if attained elsewhere. So, it was no surprise when his move to Almeria in October 2020 was greeted with bewilderment in certain quarters and outright disappointment in other places. Friends and foe alike were hoping for him to move to any premier league in mainstream Europe rather than a club in the Spanish La Liga 2. But, what most did not expect was how he would take La Liga 2 by storm. There can be no doubt: the profile of the Spanish La Liga 2 is much higher than that of the Serbian league. And to then currently be the third highest goals scorer (with 20 goals and 5 assists in 32 games) having joined the club after 4 games had already been played is just insane! But, that stain on his CV remains: a striker yet unproven at the highest level.
That will explain why in articles ran by numerous Nigerian media outlets, Umar placed the greatest emphasis on that holy grail which is promotion to the elite level. "What I focus the most on is not so much in scoring but in the team [gaining promotion to La Liga]" expressed an eager Sadiq. And who would blame him? He has unfinished business at that level of football. If he wasn't ready in Roma and Rangers, he sure as hell is ready now. Ready to right a wrong; ready to remove a stain that has blighted and denigrated his goals scoring credentials for perhaps too long. Copyright Notice © : unauthorised use of this material is strictly prohibited