Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Nwakali, Chukwueze, players future and the temptation of money

Nwakali, Chukwueze, players future and the temptation of money
January 12
13:51 2016

Kelechi Nwakali, Most Valuable player at the 2015 World U-17 championship in Chile and Samuel Chukwueze, are wanted by big clubs.

This is not something new to Nigerians as youngsters who excel in continental and world championships as they get offers from clubs – big and small.

Kabiru Akinsola in 2007; Haruna Lukman same year, Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen to mention a few.

After a successful 2007 World Youth championship on the homefront, where Nigeria came second behind Germany, Akinsola became history missing in the blues – albeit, a big money move to Tunisian club, Etoile Sportif.

The same story can be told of Chrisanthus Macauley whose heroic feat started as quick as the 2007 U-17 World Cup and ended as fast as the tournament – he never made it to any big team, though money may have been the temptation for moving to Hamburger SV in Germany.

Another member of the 2007 U-17 World Cup team, Lukman, arguably can be regarded as the most successful of the lads of that era.

First a move to AS Monaco of France for an undisclosed fee and making a few appearances for Nigeria’s senior national team before he was carried away by the wind of oblivion – he is currently chilling the coolers at Anzhi Makhachkala.

Iheanacho’s move to Man City was not one pushed with the ambition to make money at first but to help the player develop in his career.

Two products of the age grade youth level, Nwakali, 17 and Chukwueze, 16, are the latest players faced with the ‘big money’ move temptation.

English media report that Arsenal and Manchester City are the big employers willing to splash the cash upon request and value for them.

Selling the long term careers of players for short term monetary benefits has been synonymous with Nigerian owners of these players who count first their pockets before growth.

Resisting the temptation of money for the interest of the players involved should be followed like Victor Apugo – the general manager of Diamond Football Academy, owners of Nwakali and Chukwueze player rights – has echoed.

As owner of the academy where the young lads play their football, he considers money secondary to the growth of the players – even though £3m at stake and an Arsenal or Manchester City stamp.

Apugo revealed his stance on the transfer interest from the clubs as he weighs it side-by-side with the players’ gain.

“Both players have great potentials and we cannot afford to let money becloud our judgment in choosing a club for them. Our priority is their development and we are determined to ensure this is put into consideration before we accept any offers for them. Already we are deep in discussions and have gone very far with a big club with a rich history of encouraging young players and giving them chances.

“Already we are deep in discussions and have gone very far with a big club with a rich history of encouraging young players and giving them chances.

“At the fullness of time, when the deal is sealed the whole world will know and agree with us that we made the best choice for the players.”

As legal guardians and stewards for the players, agents and managers should take responsibility for growth and career advancement other than set eyes on their primary gains aimed at filling their pockets.

That Nigeria has not produced a footballer since Nwankwo Kanu that makes the rounds across all sections of the media, is because they are not giving time to develop through the ranks and with a club that encourages such gradual progress.

Money is no substitute for growth; it comes with the gradual progress of the player, not before it.


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