Former Arsenal midfielder, Kelechi Nwakali, is contemplating a potential move from Portuguese league to enhance his visibility and increase his chances of securing a spot in the Nigerian national football team, Soccernet.NG reports.
Despite being a standout player in the 2015 Under-17 World Cup and securing a move to Arsenal, Nwakali faced challenges obtaining a work permit, leading to a shift to Spanish club Huesca in 2019. Unfortunately, the team faced relegation in the following season, and Nwakali struggled to make a mark in the Super Eagles squad.
His breakthrough came in 2021 when he was called up for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations but faced complications with his club, resulting in the termination of his contract. Undeterred, the 25-year-old midfielder joined Laliga 2 side Ponferradina before moving to Portuguese club Chaves last summer.
Despite consistent performances, a national team call-up has remained elusive, especially under new Super Eagles coach José Peseiro. However, Nwakali finds himself on Nigeria’s 40-man shortlist for the 2023 AFCON, raising hopes for a coveted spot in the final squad.
Speaking to Nigeria Info FM, Nwakali expressed optimism about his chances: “I have my fingers crossed. If the coach believes I have what it takes, he is going to invite me.” Nwakali also revealed discussions with Peseiro’s assistant during a club game, receiving advice to continue working hard and improving.
Looking ahead, Nwakali acknowledges the need for more visibility and is open to exploring opportunities in a league that offers increased exposure. “Maybe next season, I’ll be able to find myself in a league that is more visible,” he added. According to Transfermarkt the Nigerian’s current market value estimates at €800,000.
As Peseiro prepares to unveil his 27-man squad for the AFCON by January 3, Nwakali remains hopeful that his dedication and performances will earn him a coveted spot on the Super Eagles roster.