Rave of the moment in Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets, Akinwunmi Amoo is counting the blessings of his heroic outings with the squad at the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations zonal qualifiers in Niger Republic.
After netting one of the goals that helped Nigeria reach Saturday’s final against Ghana, the Ibadan-born youngster has recounted how he emerged from obscurity to shine on the international scale.
From the rustic suburbs of the Oyo State capital, Amoo has emerged among the glitterati of Nigeria’s latest future talents, barely a year after he was spotted by a Lagos-based youth football developer, Prince Adeyemi Bepo.
So soon, forecasts are already pinting in the direcftion of Amoo as a lad set to take after the legends of Nigeria’s Eaglets, among whom are Nduka Ugbade, Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba, Lukman Haruna, Kelechi Iheanacho and Kelechi Nwakali.
Such is the promising aura rolling round Amoo, as he was at the head of the surge that took Nigeria into the Niger 2018 semi-final top of their group after a 5-1 thrashing of Cote D’ Ivoire.
He was on target in that second group game and continued in the same vein during a 2-1 win over the host country in the last-four encounter.
Amoo, who donned jersey number 14, was the Eaglets’ tormentor in chief against Cote d’Ivoire and followed suit against the hosts, in which the Nigerian kids were not intimidated by the vociferous home crowd that gathered in the stadium.
Amoo was the danger man for the Eaglets with a free kick of the wood work in the seventh minute and long range strike in the 11th minute.
He then scored the game’s opener when he latched on to a pass by Muhammad Ibrahim in the 43rd minute to send the Eaglets a goal ahead by halftime.
Olakunle Olusegun doubled the lead for the Eaglets when he curled a brilliant effort past the Niger goalkeeper in the 58 minute.
Niger got back into contention with a late goal before extra time but was not enough as the Eaglets held on for the win.
Heading into Saturday’s final, Amoo and his pals hardly remembered that they suffered defeat in their first match of the competition, a 3-2 loss to Burkina Faso in the opening group match.
Amoo et al were in high spirits, and the big cheer was to dump their eternal West Coast rivals for the zone’s sole ticket to Tanzania 2019.