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Hooked!...How Anichebe took final option to play for Nigeria

Posted by By JOE APU, who was in Abeokuta on 2007/03/28 | Views: 1576 |

Hooked!...How Anichebe took final option to play for Nigeria


Itís hurray for Everton striker, Victor Anichebe, who finally donned the Nigerian colours last weekend, thus putting to an end the raging doubt over which country he would starr for. Would it be Nigeria? No, it would be Nigeria. And last Saturday Nigerians had the last laugh, even though Anichebe did not kick the ball.

Itís hurray for Everton striker, Victor Anichebe, who finally donned the Nigerian colours last weekend, thus putting to an end the raging doubt over which country he would starr for. Would it be Nigeria? No, it would be Nigeria. And last Saturday Nigerians had the last laugh, even though Anichebe did not kick the ball.

Anichebe was dressed for the Super Eaglesí Nations Cup qualifier against the Cranes of Uganda in Abeokuta. And by virtue of that appearance, he can no longer play for any other country in the world. It was like a case of having to jump either into a raging inferno, or the blue sea, hoping to recreate the Biblical experience of Jonah.

But the choice did not come easy. He was torn between two great countries but, at last, he chose Nigeria, after his teammate, Joseph Yobo, had Ďtalked sense into his headí.
The lad was apparently amazed playing with great stars like Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka, Obafemi Martins among others. He adapted quickly to the team, as he was seen moving freely with the rest of the players in camp.

Yobo revealed to Daily Sunsport at their Continental Suites Hotel camp that he had to tell his young Everton teammate that the decision to play for Nigeria was entirely his and it would be in his best interest to play for Nigeria, rather than England. He would benefit more playing for Nigeria, than England.

Asked what it was that made the young attacker to opt for Nigeria, Yobo said "Itís was a psychological thing, and I used my wisdom to follow him up on the issue of playing for Nigeria."
He added: ďI really didnít have to insist on him taking the Nigerian option; I only gave him a long list of options, and what he stands to get from them. My advice seemed to have worked the magic, and he decided that it was time for him to be part of the Nigerian dream.

"He made up his mind to be part of the Nigerian squad and has come to see the set-up, as well as what the team looks like. He is just 18 years old and is now eager to play for Nigeria.
ďThat he even dressed for the game shows that the technical crew are impressed with his performance. Whatever be the case, he wants to play for Nigeria rather than the England national team.

"His coming for the match against Uganda has given him the chance to relate with other players in camp, see the coaches and even the NFA officials. He has been able to assure himself that this was the time to stay put with the Nigerian national team, than go to England.

"As a Nigerian, I felt I had a duty to convince the young man to play for Nigeria, instead of England. Opportunities open to him playing for Nigeria far outweigh that of England. Though he had played for England at the junior level, I believe that he would be better with the Eagles, especially with the kind of talents that abound in Nigeria."

Victor Anichebe was born in April 23, 1988 in Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated from the Everton Youth team; made his first team debut in January 28, 2006 as a substitute in the 89th minute of Everton's FA Cup 4th round tie against Chelsea, replacing Simon Davies.
He has been described as a fast and powerful player in the mould of a Ďtraditionalí centre forward, and is a product of Everton's Youth Academy. Victor and his family lived initially in Toxteth, before settling in Crosby.

He signed his first professional contract with Everton in April 2006, putting pen to paper on a deal that would keep him at Goodison Park until 2008. In February of 2006, Anichebe highlighted his ambition to, one day, play for Nigeria.

"I would want to represent Nigeria because that is where I come from. I go back every year for Christmas, and my family is there. We moved to England when I was just one year old, but I still feel Nigerian."

However, it was England that gave him his first shot at international football, albeit for the England Under-19s. In late August 2006, Anichebe was called up to play in a friendly match against Holland in September 5, but he withdrew from the squad and in September 2006 he was called up to the Nigeria Under-20 squad, before his latest invitation to the Super Eagles.

Many Nigerians had looked forward to seeing the guy in action but assistant coach Austin Eguavoen said the waiting game may not be too long, as the stout striker may have his first baptism of fire for Nigeria soon. The coach said Anichebe is a rugged striker, who may likely pair Obafemi Martins in subsequent matches.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.