Arsenal star Alex Iwobi is a great hope for Nigeria to secure their hands in this years’ edition of Africa Cup of Nations.
Alex Iwobi was born on the 3rd of May 1996 in the city of Lagos situated in Nigeria. He moved to Turkey when he was only two, to further settle down in England when he turned four. He has always been close to his family, and as a young boy, he started learning about football from his uncle Okacha who was a major part of Nigeria’s becoming the “dream team” in the ‘90s.
Hence, he grew up in love with football. Alex Iwobi has always been affiliated with Arsenal from the moment he joined their academy at an early age of eight. In his starting years in the club, he did struggle to find his feet and was worried to get dropped out of the academy. But his work hard attitude led him to be called up to England’s youth team and in 2015, Arsenal finally offered him a professional contract.
He has been making a mark in the Premier League since then, providing the club with 11 goals and 16 assists in 100 Premier League games. When it came to the international level, he was actually eligible to play from either of the two teams The Super Eagles or The Three Lions, but his decision was to pledge his allegiance to the Super Eagles where he was born.
The 23-year-old made his debut against DR Congo as a second-half substitute in March 2015. It still gives goosebumps to hear what he said in an interview explaining the astonishing atmosphere.
“At my debut, we played in a stadium that holds 30,000 and there was 60,000 – I don’t understand how. People were standing on the floodlights, on the scoreboard.”
“But people there will do anything to watch the match. Sometimes in a Premier League game, the fans are a bit quiet but in Nigeria, you just hear trumpets, everything. The atmosphere is so different compared to England.”
This love from Nigeria won his heart and he paid them back with a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying goal against Zambia.
“It was a special moment for me because my family was there to support me, my mum and dad were present in the stadium and the fact that I was able to spot them after the goal made it extra special and it meant a lot to me, not just to the whole nation.”
Tomorrow, Nigeria will face Burundi in what is going to be an interesting first match for both the teams in Africa Cup of Nations and we are sure hoping to see the name of Alex Iwobi in the scoring sheet.
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