Kelechi Nwakali has not been given much thought since the last Africa Cup of Nations in 2021, but he believes that leaving his current club will boost his chances of becoming a regular for the national team
Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali has stated that he may have to leave the Portuguese league to become more visible and break into the national team, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nwakali was one of the best players that came out of the 2015 Under -17 World Cup, and he later got a move to English giants Arsenal. Unfortunately, he failed to make a mark at the club due to his inability to get a work permit.
After three years in Arsenal’s books, Nwakali moved to Spanish club Huesca in 2019. But they got relegated the season after he joined.
All the while, he failed to break into the Super Eagles fold. But Nwakali got his breakthrough in 2021 when he got called up to the national team squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations by coach Augustine Eguavoen.
Unfortunately for Nwakali, he was involved in some shenanigans with his club, and after weeks of back-and-forth, his contract was terminated.
Nonetheless, the 25-year-old midfielder picked up the pieces and moved to Laliga 2 side Ponferradina.
Then, last summer, Nwakali moved to Portuguese club Chaves. Since he joined, he has been a regular, but a national team call-up has eluded him, especially since José Peseiro became the Super Eagles’ new coach.
However, in a nice turn of events, Nwakali was named in Nigeria’s 40-man shortlist for the 2023 AFCON. Ahead of the competition, Nwakali hopes to make the final list.
“I have my fingers crossed. If the coach believes or thinks that I have what it takes to be in his team, he is going to invite me,” Nwakali told Nigeria Info FM.
Meanwhile, the former Arsenal man wants to become a regular for Nigeria even after the AFCON, and he believes a little improvement and more visibility would help his cause.
“In one of my club games, I spoke to one of Peseiro’s assistants because he came to watch my game. He told me that I have a good quality as a player and everything, but we will see how it goes.
“He just advised me to keep working, and we’d see what happens. If the coach believes my quality is needed, I’m a Nigerian, and I’ll be willing to play. I just have to keep working on myself and keep improving. Maybe next season, I’ll be able to find myself in a league that is more visible,” Nwakali added.
Peseiro will release his 27-man squad for the AFCON on or before January 3, and Nwakali will hope that he can make the cut.