Yahaya Danjuma Lawali is quickly making a name for himself in Nigerian football.
The 16-year-old right-back put on a man-of-the-match performance in Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Zambia at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Lawali, a product of the Mahanaim Academy, has been touted as a future Super Eagles right-back, and his performance against Zambia showed why.
The young full-back combined his defensive and attacking duties well, making overlapping runs and delivering dangerous crosses into the box.
Lawali is smart, knowing when to make a forward run and when to defend, and his pace and agility allow him to cover the entire flank. He is also a tenacious defender, and the Zambian attackers found it difficult to get past him.
What makes Lawali extra special is his versatility. The youngster is comfortable playing on the left side of the defence or as a winger, making him a valuable utility player.
His display against Zambia did not come as a surprise to many who have been following Nduka Ugbade’s team for a while now, as he was voted the best right-back at the WAFU B U17 tournament last June, where he created three assists in four games.
Although Lawali did not score in the match against Zambia, he came close in the first half with a header that went wide.
Still, his overall performance earned him the best player award.
Lawali’s potential is immense, and it is exciting to think about the heights he could reach in the future.
If he continues to perform and develop at this level, he could soon be given a chance to prove himself at the senior level.
Until then, Nigerian football fans can look forward to watching this young, energetic fullback continue to make a name for himself on the international stage.