Henry Onyekuru made Nigeria’s 28-man roster for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after Napoli’s striker Victor Osimhen pulled out of the tournament when he contacted coronavirus while still recovering from a lengthy injury layoff.
And as usual, Onyekuru was excited to receive the late call-up and raced to the Super Eagles camp in record time.
The 24-year-old forward only featured for the last five minutes in the 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, but he was still delighted to have appeared at his second Afcon.
In truth, aside from Belgian side Eupen, who gave Onyekuru his European breakthrough, only two teams hold a special place in the 24-year-old’s heart – the Super Eagles and Galatasaray.
Eupen took Onyekuru from Nigeria to Belgium. He excelled and attracted the attention of English side Everton who signed him in 2017 for £7 million and immediately sent him on loan to Anderlecht.
Onyekuru’s love affair with Galatasaray began in 2018 after the Lions got him on loan from Everton.
The Nigerian star scored 14 goals and five assists in 31 games as Galatasaray claimed the league title. Onyekuru added another two goals in six games to help the Yellow and Red secure the Turkish Cup as well.
Following the double triumph, the Lions’ fans accepted him as one of their own, and he fell forever in love with them.
Onyekuru’s brilliant displays in Turkey also earned him a spot in the Super Eagles squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria finished with a bronze medal.
After failing to secure a UK permit for him to play in the Premier League, Everton sold Onyekuru to Monaco in the summer of 2019 when he actually wanted to join Gala.
Six months later, he was back in Istanbul with the Turkish giants on loan from the French side. And in January 2021, for the third time, Onyekuru signed for Galatasaray on another six-month loan.
But the Lions failed to take up their option to buy him permanently, and he subsequently moved to Greek giants Olympiakos in August.
Six months into his four-year deal, Onyekuru is yet to open his goal account for the Legend, and he is already thinking of a return to Galatasaray.
Two goals in 16 appearances for the Super Eagles indicates that Nigerian fans have not yet seen the best of Onyekuru in the green and white colours.
But another extraordinary exploit for a club after his own heart could see him come of age and become a regular for the Super Eagles.