It is another year. Just as lots of people expect breakthroughs in some of their endeavors, so also do the footballers. They will hope 2021 is that year they finally sign mega deals and catch the attention of national team handlers.
We take a look at three Nigerian youngsters that could have breakout years this 2020.
Paul Mukairu (Anderlecth)
Mukairu is already grabbing some headlines under the tutelage of Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany at Belgian Pro League giants Anderlecht.
The 20-year-old striker made an instant impact at Anderlecht after joining on loan from Turkish club Antalyaspor, with a goal on his debut.
Paul is highly spoken of and has been tipped to become a future Super Eagles star.
“Paul is a player with a difference. He is a confident boy and brings a lot to any team he is in. He can play in various positions and formations and likes to help his team. Whatever his coaches ask him to do and wherever they ask him to play, he plays there with all his heart and delivers whatever is asked of him. He is a delight to any coach.’ said Coach Bala Misau, his coach at his Nigerian grassroot club Green Horse Football Club.
Toluwalase Arokodare (Cologne)
The 20-year-old center-forward is currently on loan at Bundesliga club Cologne from Latvian side Valmiera.
It has not really gone to plan at Cologne where he has struggled for playing time with no goal in five appearances. The 6 ft 6 inches tall striker has the ability to change all of that. He scored 22 goals for Valmiera in 32 appearances.
Arokodare was part of the Golden Eaglets class of 2017 that failed to qualify for the African U-17 Nations Cup after they crashed out 3-2 on aggregate to the Baby Menas of Niger Republic and therefore missed their chance to defend their U17 World Cup title in India. He was a student of Segun Odegbami’s International Sports Academy.
Akinwunmi Amoo (Hammarby IF)
The 18-year-old plays as a winger for Swedish club Hammarby IF – a club co-owned by Sweden legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He has already scored two goals for Hammarby in seven appearances.
The former Sidos FC of Lagos player is blessed with immense pace, dribbling skills and has a devilish left foot.
The diminutive winger began his international career with Nigeria in the 2019 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations, and scored in his debut in a 5–4 group stage win against Tanzania, where they finished fourth in the tournament. Later the same year, Amoo was part of the Nigerian squad that got knocked out in the round of 16 during the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup but he did enough to catch the attention of foreign scouts.
It is a matter of time before Amoo makes it into the Super Eagles.