One time wonderkid of Nigerian football Kelechi Nwakali is fast generating the reputation of an itinerant player having sealed his 5th transfer in just 4 years with this announced move to Segunda Division Club CD Alcorcon on loan from Huesca.
At a time when Super Eagles of Nigeria is marching forward as an outfit that parades exciting players from reputable leagues, moving to a relegation threatened division 2 team seems like a step in the wrong direction for a player who clearly has national team ambitions.
Come to think of it, my last sentence seems counterintuitive as players plying their trades in reputable division 2 leagues are being recommended to the national team by fans. Names like Sadiq Umar, Ovie Ejaria, Michael Olise and Chuba Akpom to mention but a few readily come to mind.
Having said that, Nwakali (I suspect) would be desperately disappointed that he has not been able to prove his mettle at such a top level as the prestigious Spanish La Liga which is not just one of the best leagues in Europe but one of the best in the world.
As daunting as that sounds, it never stopped players like Isaac Success, Ighalo, Etebo, Chukwueze or Ramon Azeez from experiencing purple patches and leaving their marks on the same league – however modest.
But just 5 out of a possible 21 games for Huesca in the La Liga this season with no appreciable impact only served to underline how a loan move to a lower league outfit seems to be the only meaningful option for club and player to pursue at this time.
Preliminary investigation based on anecdotal data suggests that Nwakali has experienced goals and assists barrenness in club football in the last 36 months.
I was fortunate to watch some of his matches this season and I have to confess, his game looked rather rusty. For one that had been waiting for such a breakthrough, I had expected more umph.
So, at one level, playing in La Liga 2 itself should not exclude any player from Super Eagles reckoning, shortlist or ultimately, invitation. But on a personal level, Nwakali has just given his critics ammunition with this move at a time when a number of prospective Super Eagles players are posting peerless performances in club football
(regardless of the league).
Goodbye to the Super Eagles?
I don’t necessarily think so. Although, few Super Eagles fans I have spoken with have lost faith with Nwakali. The hope of seeing him transform earlier promise to fulfilled outcome at a senior level now seems forlorn.
Their attentions are shifting to other bright young prospects who are seemingly more serious and focused with their careers. Injured Dele-Bashiru, high flying Ovie Ejaria and Rangers transfer target Nnamdi Ofoborh etc. are names that now hold currency; names taken more seriously by fans who themselves take their followership of the Super Eagles seriously.
But, if Kelechi Nwakali gets regular playing time at CD Alcorcon, this should boost his match fitness and turbo charge his confidence which would inevitably transform to barnstorming league performances. If that happens, then all hope is not lost.
Still, a lot of Super Eagles fans will not hold their breath.
Nwakali’s work ethics have been called to question several times by observers. No greater indication of this need be sought from the way he is being shipped from club to club with nothing to show other than glamorous and fashionable social media posts.
But, at the age of 22, there is more life yet in his boots. He just needs to resurrect it with the right attitude, focus, work ethics and then he might just engineer a remarkable turnaround in his once promising, now plummeting football career.
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