Young Ola Aina was raised in difficult conditions but after enjoying his breakthrough as a Chelsea football academy graduate, the fullback, born to an Ijebu Ikenne father, rose to become a Super Eagles star, the highlight of which was a tournament that made his family proud.
One of Ola Aina’s uncle has revealed that a whole community of Ainas identified with the Torino wingback after his top performances at the 2019 AFCON held in Egypt in the summer brought them feelings of joy and satisfaction.
The England born defender, despite representing his country of birth at the youth levels, decided to play for the Nigeria senior team and was part of the Super Eagles squad that claimed a bronze medal at the continental championships.
The 23-year-old had a tournament to remember, the highlight of which was his spectacular back-heeled assist for Ighalo’s goal against Burundi in a fine group stage win.
It was one of the moments celebrated by fans and countrymen, earning Aina rave reviews in the local press. It was to also be a moment that brought indescribable emotions to the hearts of many of the youngster’s relatives.
“It was all over the news, [Ola] gave our folks something to be proud of back home,” said his uncle Abayomi Aina, as monitored by Soccernet.ng.
“I was overjoyed and the fact that it’s my nephew, the name Aina being mentioned by commentators.
“In a country of about 200 million people, his name was on the lips of millions from Lagos to Ijebu Ikenne (the family’s ancestral hometown) and it was indeed a proud moment for us.”
Ola Aina was a member of the Chelsea youth team that won the UEFA Youth League consecutively in 2015 and 2106. He has also won 14 caps for the Super Eagles.