The Almeria frontman is joining the senior national team for the first time, and some are hoping to see his link up with the Napoli youngster bear incredible fruits
Former Nigeria international Tijani Babangida has expressed his delight at the decision of head coach Gernot Rohr to invite Umar Sadiq to the Super Eagles, following his excellent displays for Spanish side Almeria.
A former youth international, Sadiq has been the catalyst behind Almeria’s push for promotion to La Liga, powering the Segunda Division club’s cause with 14 league goals.
After half a decade playing for clubs in Italy, Scotland and Serbia, Babangida is pleased that the former Roma star has finally impressed the national handlers enough to merit a Super Eagles call-up.
The former Ajax ace, however, charged his younger compatriot to put in his best as other talented strikers are waiting for such an opportunity.
“I am happy that Sadiq Umar has been invited to fight for a shirt in the Super Eagles,” the Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medalist told the Daily Trust.
“There are so many young strikers out there who deserve to be given the opportunity to play.
“My only advice to him is that he should grab this chance with both hands. I have followed his progress years, and I can say there is so much improvement in his game.”
Victor Osimhen remains Gernot Rohr’s preferred number nine for the Super Eagles, though, and Sadiq can only hope the German tactician pairs him up with the Napoli striker, not bench him.
And Babangida is optimistic that an Osimhen-Sadiq partnership can turn the Super Eagles attack into a fearsome component.
He said: “If Sadiq and Osimhen combine in the attack, Super Eagles will reap the benefits.”
Osimhen and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho are ahead of Sadiq in the centre-striking role. Still, the Almeria ace will hope to make his international debut during Nigeria’s two Afcon-qualifying matches later this month.
The Super Eagles make the trip to Porto Novo to trade tackles with the Benin Republic on March 27 before playing host to Lesotho three days later.