A full-fledged senior debut for Real Madrid of Spain by Nigerian-born youngster, Marvin Akinlabi Park has left Super Eagles’ chief scout, Tunde Adelakun excited and the aide of national team gaffer, Gernot Rohr declared that it was ‘fantastic news’ for him, megasportsarena.com reports.
Adelakun added that it was another reassurance from Akinlabi that he is really growing rapidly and remains in contention for great days ahead of him in the round leather game, even as the scout affirmed that the Eagles’ crew will keep monitoring the lad with a view to an invitation to the Nigerian team in the near future.
The scout’s insight comes after Akinlabi became the first player of Nigerian descent to feature for Los Blancos’ first team, several years after former Eagles’ stars, Mutiu Adepoju and Dimeji Lawal, Christopher Nwosu and Christopher Ohenhen as well as Spain-born youngster, Derik Osede came close but ended up either in the Madrid youth sector or second team, Compostella.
However, history was made last weekend when Akinlabi eventually got the nod, after he earlier trained with Real’s first team all through the pre-season spell and days heading into the fixture away to Real Sociedad, in which he got off the bench in the second half of the game that ended goalless, and the lad turned out to be quite lively on his competitive debut.
Born in Palma de Mallorca, Spain twenty years ago, Akinlabi qualifies to represent the national teams of the country of his birth, as well as Nigeria through his father and South Korea courtesy of his mother; but he does not need to request for a formal change of allegiance from FIFA, as his only cap for the Spanish under-19 side was in an international friendly against Italy.
That has created a scenario in which Nigeria could move swiftly to get Akinlabi to commit himself to a future with the Super Eagles, for which Adelakun has come out to reveal that the lad is under his scouring radar, but quickly interjected that any decision to invite the winger will come from the head coach, in conjunction with the football federation.
Adelakun told allnigeriasoccer.com: “We are watching all players that are qualified and eligible to play for Nigeria, all across the board, Real Madrid and even clubs in Vietnam, therefore he’s not out of our radar.
“The fact that he made a debut for Real Madrid is great, it is fantastic news for him, he has made history for himself as a player. We will keep watching his progress to see whether he will make the squad at some point in the future.
“My place is to watch players that are eligible and give my reports to my superiors, being the head coach and on the administrative side the Nigeria Football Federation, so the two will make the decision”