(Forward, Lazio & Nigeria U20)
POB:- Edo, Nigeria
Previous Clubs:- My People FC, Bodens BK
Notable Achievements:- Voted Player of the Tournament at the 2009 U17 World Cup.
One of the real pleasures of watching International youth football on Eurosport is seeing a promising player burst onto the world stage. Although Brazil ended up breaking the African stranglehold upon the U20 World Cup, with victory in Colombia, Nigeria were by far and away the most entertaining team of the tournament, with their lively non-stop attacking play highlighting the impressive progress that many of the 2009 ‘Golden Eaglets’ had made since their run to the U-17 World Cup final.
During the 2009 U17 World Cup, in Nigeria, a diminutive, young local talent, from Edo, emerged as the main goal threat for the home nation, as well as the star player of the tournament. Scoring five goals and almost single-handedly dismantling the Spanish in the semi-finals, Sani Emmanuel looked to be one of the most exciting young players of a potentially ‘golden generation’ of Nigerian talent.
Whereas teammates Olarenwaju Kayode and Edafe Egbedi have moved up to the U20’s and shone in Colombia, Emmanuel managed to feature in just 37 tournament minutes. However his brief cameo display against the French in the quarter-finals showed how the tricky and pacy young striker had managed to add a little bit of skill and finesse to his raw power and magnetic dribbling abilities. Unlike, Kayode and Egbedi, Emmanuel has had almost eighteen months of training and conditioning with European clubs, first with Swedish outfit Bodens BK and now with Serie A side Lazio.
Although he will be unlikely to make the breakthrough into the Lazio first team this season, the Serie A would seem the perfect arena for a small, athletic and increasingly cunning goalscorer to make his mark (think Signori, Zola, or Di Natale). So despite enduring most of Nigeria’s Colombian adventure from the bench, Emmanuel, at just eighteen, has time to develop and appears to have sensibly positioned himself in a major league where his mercurial abilities should see him thrive, if given the chance.