Nwakali deserves Afcon chance, says ex-Arsenal star Kanu

Former Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu has backed 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup winner Kelechi Nwakali to claim a place in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad.

Nwakali, who plays for FC Porto B on loan from Arsenal, played in Nigeria U23 team’s 4-0 thrashing of Libya on Monday — a result that sealed Nigeria’s passage into the next round of 2019 U23 AFCON qualifiers, where they’ll face Sudan.

The 20-year-old has impressed with the junior teams, though he remains uncapped at senior level. And now, Kanu believes the midfielder is ready to make a step up to the senior team and, of course, earn a place in Gernot Rohr’s squad for this year’s AFCON, after watching the 2015 FIFA U17 golden ball winner excel in the game against the Libyans.

Kanu was also “impressed” with the displays of Samuel Chukwueze and Victor Osimhen, who netted a hat-trick in the game at Stephen Keshi Stadium.

Speaking to Aoifootball, the Olympic winner said: ”

I was very impressed with the overall performance of the team on Monday. The boys reenacted the spirit of the Dream Team and fought till the end, showing class over their opponents. Now, it’s time for them to build on it and ensure they qualify for the tournament proper.
“Again Kelechi Nwakali showed his worth and dominated the midfield. I believe he has come of age and should be given a chance with the senior national team. The AFCON is just three months away so we must select our best legs in the tournament.
“Also, Chukwueze showed he has plenty to offer and the hat-trick boy, Osimhen also showed good promise. I believe the future remains bright for Nigerian football.”