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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:59 pm 
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Kelechi Nwakali: How Nigeria's ex-Arsenal World Cup winner got trapped in work-permit hell
Emma Smith
Last updated 4 hours ago
Kelechi Nwakali joins Arsenal
Arsenal.com
ARSENAL

PREMIER LEAGUE

SEGUNDA DIVISIÓN

HUESCA

ALCORCÓN

PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

FEATURES & OPINIONS

AFRICAN ALL STARS
The midfielder moved to north London after starring for his country at under-age level but administrative issues prevented him from playing
The reasons why a player may struggle to live up to 'wonderkid' status are many. Poor attitude, injuries, a poor relationship with a manager, the wrong move at the wrong time, the pressures of expectation – the list goes on.

Kelechi Nwakali perhaps ticks some of those boxes but the main reason the Nigerian midfielder has yet to live up to the hype is a word which strikes fear into any heart – paperwork.

Nwakali signed for Arsenal as a teenager in 2016, having played a starring role in Nigeria's triumph at the Under-17 World Cup in Chile the year before.

The team had two main stars: Victor Osimhen, who won the Golden Boot with a mammoth 10 goals; and Nwakali, the midfield dynamo who picked up the Golden Ball for best player.

The trophy has been won by several players who went on to be major stars, including Landon Donovan, Cesc Fabregas and Toni Kroos.

However, whereas Osimhen was one of the most in-demand strikers in world football last summer, making a big-money move to Napoli having impressed at Lille, Nwakali has rather fallen off the world football radar.

Indeed, the 22-year-old is now on loan at Spanish second division side Alcorcon from La Liga club Huesca.


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Kelechi Nwakali Nigeria
He had joined Arsenal from the Diamond Football Academy in Nigeria but work permit issues prevented him from ever playing in the Premier League, and he instead had to spend time on loan in the Netherlands with MVV Maastricht and VVV-Venlo.

Having arrived in England from outside Europe without any experience at senior international level, Nwakali was left in limbo because of paperwork problems, yet he says he was targeted by some fans, who mistakenly saw his lack of playing time as him wasting his talent.

His own U17 manager, ex-Nigeria international Emmanuel Amuneke, seemed to echo these claims over Nwakali’s attitude, telling Goal in April 2020: “There is nothing to doubt about Nwakali’s talent.

"All he needs to do is counsel himself and realise that when you forget the root that took you to success, you start to lose the beauty of what made you who you are.

“A lot of Nigerians are expecting his progression, but it is unfortunate because of what he has passed through over the years. He also needs to check the kind of lifestyle he is living and know that without football, he is a nobody.”

Nwakali has rejected these personal attacks, arguing that there was nothing could do about his inability to break through at Arsenal as a youngster.

"It was difficult mentally not playing for a year, so going through all of that and coming on the internet to see someone say I am gallivanting, was hurtful," he told the BBC in September 2020. "A lot of Nigerian fans had the impression that I am just sitting doing nothing."

A loan to Porto in 2018-19 was supposed to be his chance to move into the European limelight, but he never played in the Portuguese side’s first team, making just 16 appearances for Porto B.

Things got even worse in March 2019, when he was marooned in Nigeria due to yet more visa problems.

Kelechi Nwakali Huesca
Manager Gernot Rohr had called up the player to face Seychelles in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Nwakali didn’t play, and soon found himself at the mercy of administration once again.

"I didn't have a Portuguese resident card, it wasn't ready before I left, but I had to come to that game because that was my first official call-up for the Super Eagles. I was stuck in Nigeria for three months," he told the BBC .

"It was difficult getting a visa back to Portugal, I couldn't get back to my club for three months and by the end of the season no one wanted to take me, they said I hadn't been playing.

"I learned a lesson that it is important you do well at your club side first, the national team is important, but some important decisions need to be made, that will help my career in the future and I didn't make the right one in the right moment."

Arsenal eventually seemed to decide Nwakali’s issues were more trouble than they were worth and, in September 2019, he was allowed to leave.

The player himself seemed to bear no ill will, writing on Instagram: "I have gained a lot from my time here and everybody involved with the club have been great to me.

"I just want to say a big thank you and goodbye, because it is time to move on, time for another chapter and another challenge."

He admitted in an interview with TribalFootball last year that it was a wrench to leave Arsenal, but that the need to establish himself and set down roots as a first-team player were more important.

"It was difficult for me to leave because they wanted me to stay," Nwakali said. "But at the same time, I needed to get a place where I can call my home, where I can continue to develop my game."

Nwakali is taking small steps to that goal now.

Settled in Spain with a three-year Huesca contract and the prospect of regular football for the rest of the campaign at Alcorcon, Nigerians will now hope that one of their most promising players of recent years can finally start to come good.

https://www.goal.com/en-my/news/kelechi-nwakali-how-nigerias-ex-arsenal-world-cup-winner-got/4gp2kda2eep11k5d6txznexzg

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:22 pm 
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He started his first game with Alcoron last weekend a d did his part in a 1-0 victory. Huesca will likely be relegated so there's plenty of playing time for him in the near future. He now has to use Segundo div as his launching pad muck like Sadiq is doing. Forget SE, transfers and instagram. Focus on each game as they come, luckily the Spanish appreciate,his creativity. He can still make it.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:40 pm 
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I don't understand why there seems to be a frantic drive to get into the SE.
We all have to do the 'bread and butter' work at the start of our careers before we begin to eye the banquet table.
Youth football and the adult game are planets apart and the transition should never be taken for granted.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:42 pm 
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EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
He started his first game with Alcoron last weekend a d did his part in a 1-0 victory. Huesca will likely be relegated so there's plenty of playing time for him in the near future. He now has to use Segundo div as his launching pad muck like Sadiq is doing. Forget SE, transfers and instagram. Focus on each game as they come, luckily the Spanish appreciate,his creativity. He can still make it.
Amen.
But what is now the problem at Huesca?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:44 pm 
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From your mouth to God’s ears; I just wonder much he has left to offer

Form is temporary; class is permanent but when was the last time he showed what he’s capable of for club or country?

The A Madrid friendly 3 years ago?

Everyone has talent but the successful players work hard and are also lucky....
It baffles me that he couldn’t get 5 mins playing time in an atrocious Huesca side.....

I wish him all the best, but let’s remember Chile was 6 years ago....if Amuneke’s words are anything to go by he needs to knuckle down at Alcorcon, the clock is ticking

EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
He started his first game with Alcoron last weekend a d did his part in a 1-0 victory. Huesca will likely be relegated so there's plenty of playing time for him in the near future. He now has to use Segundo div as his launching pad muck like Sadiq is doing. Forget SE, transfers and instagram. Focus on each game as they come, luckily the Spanish appreciate,his creativity. He can still make it.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:32 pm 
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Damunk wrote:
EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
He started his first game with Alcoron last weekend a d did his part in a 1-0 victory. Huesca will likely be relegated so there's plenty of playing time for him in the near future. He now has to use Segundo div as his launching pad muck like Sadiq is doing. Forget SE, transfers and instagram. Focus on each game as they come, luckily the Spanish appreciate,his creativity. He can still make it.
Amen.
But what is now the problem at Huesca?


Yep, paper excuse would have made sense if his current setback didn’t happen. Now it’s looking more like a talent/ability/consistency issue same with his older brother. Hope it’s not water finding it’s level...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:22 pm 
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Damunk wrote:
EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
He started his first game with Alcoron last weekend a d did his part in a 1-0 victory. Huesca will likely be relegated so there's plenty of playing time for him in the near future. He now has to use Segundo div as his launching pad muck like Sadiq is doing. Forget SE, transfers and instagram. Focus on each game as they come, luckily the Spanish appreciate,his creativity. He can still make it.
Amen.
But what is now the problem at Huesca?


They're facing relegation, bottom of laliga. Coach likes him but he's under pressure to win, he prefers Nwakali's offensive game but can't experiment so they sent him on loan where he's playing a more attacking role. Good move for him I think.

The boy has game changing talent but he needs to settle on a position and just accept he's a segunda player for now. I think he can do it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 2:43 pm 
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bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:25 pm 
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Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


Bigpokey, why do you always have to talk trash? It is not as if you’ve ever played any serious football your entire life. Please, leave the small boy alone to try and get his career on track and stop hating❗️


Cheers.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:29 pm 
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TonyTheTigerKiller wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


Bigpokey, why do you always have to talk trash? It is not as if you’ve ever played any serious football your entire life. Please, leave the small boy alone to try and get his career on track and stop hating❗️


Cheers.

not hating and yes i have played ball before , in many leagues...if you doubt me google nwakali's name and see his IG page... bobo is always on the social media platform , going back and forth , instead of training if you doubt me check this out

https://www.instagram.com/nwakali25/

dude has the potential to be a world-class player, but bobo isn't interested

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:02 pm 
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Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


In addition to your 89k posts on CE you're also trolling on instagram? Geez! Somebody should be arrested for such idleness.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:35 pm 
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EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


In addition to your 89k posts on CE you're also trolling on instagram? Geez! Somebody should be arrested for such idleness.

so suck on a lemon,today is 21st day of 21st year of 21st century

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:35 am 
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Bigpokey24 wrote:
EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


In addition to your 89k posts on CE you're also trolling on instagram? Geez! Somebody should be arrested for such idleness.

so suck on a lemon, today is 21st day of 21st year of 21st century
Go and recalculate. :idea:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:55 pm 
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Damunk wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
EMIR KONGI JAFFI JOFFA wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


In addition to your 89k posts on CE you're also trolling on instagram? Geez! Somebody should be arrested for such idleness.

so suck on a lemon, today is 21st day of 21st year of 21st century
Go and recalculate. :idea:

Wow. He thinks February is the first month of the year? :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:51 pm 
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7 of the first 12 pictures on Instagram was in training, how do know he didn't train on the 4 pictures that wasn't a training picture?

Have you seen Ronaldo's instagram?




Bigpokey24 wrote:
TonyTheTigerKiller wrote:
Bigpokey24 wrote:
bobo spends more time on Instagram , instead of getting into the starting lineup


Bigpokey, why do you always have to talk trash? It is not as if you’ve ever played any serious football your entire life. Please, leave the small boy alone to try and get his career on track and stop hating❗️


Cheers.

not hating and yes i have played ball before , in many leagues...if you doubt me google nwakali's name and see his IG page... bobo is always on the social media platform , going back and forth , instead of training if you doubt me check this out

https://www.instagram.com/nwakali25/

dude has the potential to be a world-class player, but bobo isn't interested

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:58 pm 
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I have read this story now several times and there is a line there that makes me worry. Here it is:

Quote:
"I didn't have a Portuguese resident card, it wasn't ready before I left, but I had to come to that game because that was my first official call-up for the Super Eagles. I was stuck in Nigeria for three months," he told the BBC .

"It was difficult getting a visa back to Portugal, I couldn't get back to my club for three months and by the end of the season no one wanted to take me, they said I hadn't been playing.

"I learned a lesson that it is important you do well at your club side first, the national team is important, but some important decisions need to be made, that will help my career in the future and I didn't make the right one in the right moment."


I wonder if he has a good counsel? Why would he make such a trip? It was unlikely that he would start. He could have contacted the NFF to advice them on his situation. Yet, he made the trip. Shakes my head. :blink:

Hopefully, he learned his lesson as he claims. I just hope he did. Nothing else to add, except that the passage speaks volumes.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:22 pm 
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The few times I saw him play for Huesca, he looked good. I'm surprised he didn't get more playing time there and even start more games.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:25 pm 
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Hes playing today @3pm ET V Zaragoza. Hope starts and plays very well.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:24 pm 
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His team beat Zaragoza 1-0 today making it 2 straight win s since he joined them. They're now out of the bottom 3. :thumb:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:26 am 
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BP is right! The guy cares more about his cars and traveling bags on IG than playing football. Just my observation!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:01 am 
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Undertaker wrote:
BP is right! The guy cares more about his cars and traveling bags on IG than playing football. Just my observation!

my brother, they called me a hater oooo

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