Samuel Chukwueze, the Nigeria youngster who scored the fastest goal of the U-17 World Cup in 2015 against the host nation, Chile, just 25 seconds into the match says his parents burnt his boots to stop him from playing football.
Chukwueze, the left footed winger scored four goals in Chile to win the bronze boot alongside his captain, Kelechi Nwakali.
The winger who was 14 years old at the Portuguese youth Iber Cup tournament in 2013 scored 12 goals in five games which Nigeria won.
Chukwueze in this interview with TheCable said: “When I was growing up playing football, my parents used to seize my boots and even burn them. So, as to prevent me from going to play football.”
“Inspite of this, I never let it stop me from going for training. They saw me as being stubborn. They always try to stop me from going for training.
“My parents eventually gave their consent to me playing football in 2013 when we went to Portugal.
“They realised that I love playing football and that I will prefer it to something else. So, they gave their blessings and I became more focused on my football career.”
Chukwueze however realises it will be really tough to make the final selection for Coach Emmanuel Amuneke’s Flying Eagles team and he reveals:”I am working very hard to see that I make the final list in the U20 because it’s not going to be easy.”
He also said he never thought he will be a celebrated football player this early in his career.
“No, I never believed I could become a household name like this in Nigeria football. Everyone in the U-17 then worked together as a team. We did everything as a team. But my team mates brought the best out of me.”
“I was happy for my captain when he got the bronze boot instead of me. I had no bitterness in my heart because of that. I believed he deserved it.”
“When FIFA brought mine to Nigeria, I felt happy too.”
Chukwueze in reacting to his Arsenal move, he said: “The issue with Arsenal is not about disagreement on money but optional agreement with my academy is what’s holding back my signing with the club.”
“The optional agreement is that by the time I am 18 I must still go for another medicals and even if I sign any professional contract with Arsenal, and any other club must sign me £20 million before they will give my academy another money. That’s the problem.
“Nothing has been said about the contract and I am in the U-20 camp. I haven’t heard anything yet from them for now.
“My academy is already preparing another deal with FC Porto if Arsenal deal does not pull through. The footballer I admire and love watching while growing up is Arjen Robben. And I also love Kelechi Iheanacho because he is a talented player.”
Chukwueze concluded with encomiums for his coach Emmanuel Amuneke, regarding him as “a very good coach”.
“He does not play with his job. When it’s time for business, it’s all business. He is like a father to us all too.
“He is always telling us to work hard and be focus. He is always telling me to push hard so as to be at the top of my game. That working hard is the only key to success.”