Can Iheanacho beat Yekini’s goal scoring record?
Africa Focus By: Jide Alaka | 11/10/2016
When Kelechi Iheanacho won the MVP award at the 2013 U-17 World Cup, that held in the UAE, no one could foretell what would happen to the youngster in three short years. In the last two Super Eagles matches, Kelechi Iheanacho has scored and they have proved winners.
Against Tanzania, he got the only goal with a smash from outside the box; and then last Sunday, he beat the goalkeeper and two Zambian defenders to score Super Eagles’ second goal, which proved the winner in the 2-1 win.
In the last four games, he has been afforded a starting berth and has repaid that confidence with goals. Though he is not yet one year into his Super Eagles career, his stats [if he continues at the current rate] could see him surpass Nigeria’s greatest ever striker – the late Rashidi Yekini.
The Manchester City forward has been nominated as one of the best youngsters in Europe and has the remarkable record of being in the top 16 strikers who have scored at least 20 goals by their 20th birthdays.
Valued at about $750,000 just a year ago, his value has risen to over $7million, which necessitated City giving him a raise that is said to be £85,000 per week and he has proven with his two goals and three assists in just 185 minutes of English Premier League action that he is worth every dime.
In the 11 months since Iheanacho made his debut in Swaziland, under former coach, Sunday Oliseh, the forward has played six matches and started four, all before his 21st birthday so how far can he go seems to be the next logical question?
Former Super Eagles captain and coach, Sunday Oliseh believes the 20-year-old has Guardiola to thank for his upward curve. Taking to Twitter after City beat United in September, he said, “Iheanachor's tactical improvement in a short time under Guardiola is impressive”.
The player, who idolizes Lionel Messi and Kaka, has always insisted that he will continue working hard. “I would say I’m a young player who needs to keep learning every day so as to be a better player.” At the rate he is going, he could become Nigeria’s greatest goal scorer.