Daily, newspaper headlines drown us in news about the phenomenal feats of Lionel Messi and the goal scoring records of Cristiano Ronaldo, the boring-or-not title winning display of Chelsea, Bayern Munich’s stroll to the German Bundesliga title and Real Madrid’s double header with Barcelona for the La Liga.
But when the spectacular story of the 2014-15 football season is finally written, it will reserve a worthy spot for little-fancied Carpi FC and the name Jerry Mbakogu would be mentioned a couple of times in the narrative.
|Photo Credit: Goal|
Carpi FC’s incredible rise to the big headlines has been nothing short of stunning. At the start of the just concluding season, not many people gave the modest Serie B side any chance of surviving the drop much less finishing in the top half of the table. But come the 2015-16 season, Carpi FC, a club that was close to going out of existence due to bankruptcy a few years ago will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Juventus and Roma and running out on the San Siro turf.
There are only three matches of the season left to play in the Serie B and Carpi FC have already been guaranteed promotion to the Italian Serie A with an unassailable points lead. In fact, another win will ensure them ending as champions of a division that include more illustrious opponents like Bologna, Livorno and Catania.
All thanks to an astute management structure, a highly efficient team that has earned promotion from the lower leagues three times in 5 years and the goal scoring heroics of their Nigeria-born import, Jerry Mbakogu.
The 22 year old striker who has notched a club high 14 goals is young, strong and hungry and will be looking to play a key part in the club’s sojourn in the Serie A next season.
Just like his team, Jerry Mbakogu is little-known back home in Nigeria having left the country at a very young age. He moved to Italy in search of fame and fortune but both has been elusive before he was teamed up with Carpi.
Fame and fortune will come easy in the Serie A and Nigerians will be glad to have one more of their kins in a league where bench-warming Joel Obi at Inter Milan is the leading light.
The over 6ft tall attacker may not be a goal machine in the stature of Rashidi Yekini just yet and may not possess the technical attributes of Nwankwo Kanu but Jerry Mbakogu is bubbling, confident and dangerous in and outside the penalty box.
And if the question has crossed your mind; well No,he’s not ready yet for the Super Eagles.
With a few rough edges in his first touch and finishing still to be smoothened out, Jerry Mbakogu needs to be left to continue his education in the Serie A away from the impending robust struggle between Ighalo, Emenike and Ideye for the Super Eagles Number 9 jersey.
Coach Samson Siasia could however give him a chance in the Dream Team if he acquaints himself well in the Italian top league next season then it would be hard for anyone to keep him out of the Super Eagles.
At the moment, however, let him enjoy his moment in the limelight. Carpi FC have fully deserved every praise that will come their way at the end of season. And we can be proud that somewhere in there a Nigerian is part of the success story.