Having set the second division in Italy ablaze last season with an insane amount of goals - 20 to be precise in 37 matches - many observers had questioned whether Simy Nwankwo would replicate such madness in the top flight after his team gained promotion.
What they forgot is that the 29 year old sharpshooter was a virtual nobody until his 7 goals in 23 games in the 2017/18 Serie A season propelled him to the limelights (and earned him the boarding pass to a seat in the Super Eagles' 2018 World Cup plane). He is not a novice at this level but even at that, few had expected the Super Eagle to be pulling up these many trees in a forest with more illustrious tree-cutters like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is a deity and still leads this season's Serie A goals scorer chart with 25 goals. Simy comes 6th with his 15 goals which puts him either on par or ahead of heavyweights like Lorenzo Insigne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ciro Immobile, João Pedro and Andrea Belotti.
For a stricken club almost destined for an instant return to the second division (as Crotone currently sit rock bottom at the Serie A league table), this is quite simply a torch bearing achievement for Simy. And when you factor that he is not entirely surrounded with the highest quality players in the league, then it is further a telling affirmation of his efficiency and ruthlessness.
With Crotone's relegation fate signed, sealed but just waiting to be delivered, mails of interest are pouring in for Simmy to (hopefully) continue playing top flight football next season after his team have sunk. Last season after his heroics in Serie B, the president of Crotone staved off interests from other clubs insisting the Nigeria International was not for sale.
I doubt he will be able to prevent Simy from leaving the club this time around.
If he stays in top flight football and continues to decimate defences and tear up nets, will Nigeria continue to ignore Simmy?
It is very possible, I'm afraid.
This is not the first time when players doing well for their clubs aren't getting the attention of national team handlers. It is not that Simy is being maliciously ignored. However, when you have that many strikers doing well in club football contemporaneously, inevitably - and rather unfortunately - some of them will have to lose out.
Also, it is not the case that the strikers invited to the Super Eagles are scoring more goals or are better overall than Simmy. It is rather due to 3 factors: the other strikers are doing 'reasonably' well for themselves in club football; they do well during international assignments; and they have been core members of the national team for quite some time.
Personally, I don't think Simy was given enough opportunity to showcase what he brings to the national team.
After a meagre 4 caps in which 3 of them were for pitiful 21 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute respectively, the lanky centre forward was deemed surplus to national team requirements and discarded like the contents of a waste paper basket since the 8th of September 2018 game against Seychelles (where he sat out the entire encounter generating heat for the bench!).
Harsh if you ask me; and to make matters worse, Rohr was actually talking about luring Ighalo back to the Super Eagles rather than see how the untapped talents Simy can be harnessed.
But Simy is a top quality centre forward as we can see. He scores mostly with his feet which is a huge comparative advantage (to other options open to the Super Eagles). His mobility and ability to hold and link up play with his team mates (along with his guile and trickery) set him apart.
Unfortunately, at present most centre forward options of the Super Eagles are equally doing well and others like Sadiq Umar and Terem Moffi are dying to show Nigeria what they bring to the Super Eagles table (after tantalising club outings).
All Simy can do is continue playing well, staying fit and banging in the goals. Who knows, circumstances may contrive and he might yet be given the opportunity to have another bite at the Super Eagles cherry!
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