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Oshoala: No team can rival Nigeria at AWCON

Football
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Samuel Kalu: Blitzing his way to the Super Eagles

If Super Eagles new boy Samuel Kalu makes his Nigeria debut away to Seychelles in this week's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, the Bordeaux winger will join a growing list of talented youngsters to have progressed to the national team without playing in the domestic league.

That will represent a remarkable achievement in a quest which began 32 months ago for Kalu, whose childhood dream, just like any other young aspiring footballer in Nigeria, was to play for the Super Eagles.

The 21-year-old, fresh from the renowned GBS Academy, made a direct switch to AS Trencin in January 2016, continuing a recent tradition which has seen relatively untested Nigerian kids use the Slovak side as a career springboard.

For a player who had no prior European football experience, Kalu found solace in the company of compatriots Kingsley Madu and Rabiu Ibrahim, who obviously played a huge role in his accelerated integration in his first year outside Nigeria.

A return of four goals in 32 appearances convinced Gent of his qualities, leading to a transfer to Belgium 12 months later, an apparent move which ought to have paved the way for the departure of Moses Simon.

The hardworking forward became an instant hit in the Jupiler League with his surging runs, crosses, dribbles, work-rate, assists and goals.

Kalu's consistency led to speculation of a move to a bigger club or an international call-up, two feats he ultimately achieved within a fortnight.

While Kalu's maiden Super Eagles invitation might not have come entirely as a surprise, he could now be viewed as a potential replacement for Victor Moses, who announced his international retirement last month, rather than a replacement.

However, while Kalu and Moses might have similar playing styles, the former actually has the potential to be a goalscoring wideman more in the ilk of John Utaka.

In only his second Ligue 1 appearance of the season at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Kalu terrorised the AS Monaco defence on several occasions with his blistering pace, strength, sublime skills and desire to beat his man rather than go to ground.

Despite missing a late penalty which he earned - a testament to the trust his teammates have developed in him within a short spell in the team-Kalu's impressive all-round contributions; two shots on targets, fouled four times and 64 touches have made him an instant hero among the Bordelais fans.

Rohr must certainly be excited about the prospect of working with a player who he's monitored for some time, and who has so much to offer the national side.

Against relatively feeble opponents, Kalu has the quality to step into the forward line and introduce a valuable new dimension to the Super Eagles.

Certainly, the game against the Seychelles should represent the start of an encouraging relationship between player and national side.

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