NORWICH teenage centreback Andrew Abiola Omobamidele is set to become the next focus of an acquisition battle as the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) eyes him for the Super Eagles but is like to face stiff opposition from Ireland.
Omobamidele, 18, has emerged over the last season as a reliable stellar defender, gaining a starting place in the Norwich City starting line-up. With Norwich City eight points clear at the top of the English Championship with just six games to go, Omobamidele is certain to be playing in the English Premier League next season.
Imposing and dominating as he stands at six feet four, Omobamidele born of an Irish mother and Nigerian father has already been capped by Ireland at the U17, U19 and U21 levels. However, after his recent sterling performances for Norwich City, Nigerian scouts have forwarded his details on to the NFF as a potential Super Eagle.
Seen as an ideal partner for Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo, who is yet to commit to Nigeria, Omobamidele is very comfortable on the ball and can be relied upon to bring the ball out of defence. He also stands out aerially and has impressive positioning when it comes to defending crosses and set pieces.
One Nigerian scout said: “He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and distributes it extremely well. He successfully completed 92% of the passes, a key attribute we currently need in our Super Eagles.”
“I noticed a very talented , exciting and composed defender in the mould of great Uche Okechukwu, so Andrew is certainly one to pursue for Nigeria. I will let the authorities know as he is a must have if you ask me.”
Ireland, however, are likely to fight to keep the player and may cap him at senior level soon to prevent Nigeria laying its hands on him. On 23 December 2020, Omobamidele signed his first professional contract with Norwich City and has since gone on to become one of the mainstays of the club’s backline.
Already, Ireland have beaten Nigeria to on-loan Manchester City goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who made his debut last week in the 0-1 loss to Luxemburg in a World Cup qualifier. Ireland already another Norwich City player born to a Nigerian father and Irish mother in its team as striker Adam Idah has already been capped five times.
However, one factor Nigeria has in its favour is that the Super Eagles are flying high while Irish football is currently in the doldrums, offering very little international exposure. Ireland failed to qualify for Euro 2021 and are also in danger of missing out on Qatar 2022 after losing their first two qualification matches.