The 22-year-old is trying to enjoy his football again with Huesca, but he says the last few years have been a difficult period for him due to the criticism he received from Nigerians
Former Golden Eaglets star, Kelechi Nwakali has expressed sadness at the criticism he received from Nigerian fans when he was struggling in his career.
Nwakali broke out when he led the Golden Eaglets- Nigeria’s U-17 squad to victory at the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Huesca star won the Golden Ball in that competition, and that led to a lot of expectations.
A year after the World Cup, Nwakali joined Arsenal, but he never played for the Gunners with the Nigerian going out on several loan stints till he joined Huesca permanently last summer.
However, on joining Huesca, Nwakali had to wait for six months before linking up with his new side, and that led to criticism from Nigerians, who claimed the midfielder is throwing away his career.
But speaking in an interview with the BBC, Nwakalis revealed he was sad at the criticism he received as he could not join the Spanish on time due to visa issues.
“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, I was bothered,” he explained.
“A lot of Nigerian fans had the impression that I am just sitting in Nigeria doing nothing.”
Before joining Huesca permanently, Nwakali had a loan stint with Porto, but he only featured for the Portuguese second team, and it is a move he regrets now.
“I regret making the move, that was a mistake from me and the agency,” he admitted.
“They (agency) have a lot of players, and I needed to go to another place where they have my interest at heart and where they can focus on me.
“I was told when I moved that I would train and play with the first team and there was an option to buy me on a permanent deal which sounded good.
“But after three months of training with the first team, it wasn’t looking like I would join the first team any time soon.”
Nwakali added that his time at Porto left him doubting his abilities, and that led to his decision to leave the club.
“There was a time, I was having doubt in myself, I wondered if I was not up to it anymore,” Nwakali told BBC Sport Africa.
“It was difficult mentally for me, but my mind was made up, that I had to leave.”