Arsenal of England’s Nigerian-born winger, Bukayo Saka has revealed how much he cherishes his nickname, which was given him by his club’s captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also gifted the youngster a personalised, jewel-encrusted chilli after The Gunners’ English FA Cup win last year.
Megasportsarena.com reports that the 19-year-old Saka disclosed that he is now hoping to live up to his ‘Little Chilli’ tag and prove to be England’s hot-shot at the European Championship, ahead of which he scored his first goal for The Three Lions in a warm-up friendly match victory over Austria last week.
It remains to be seen if he will be included in the starting line-up to face Croatia in England’s Euro 2020 opener at Wembley on Sunday, though he enjoyed a fine season in a disappointing campaign for The Gunners, leading to his nickname becoming common, after Aubameyang coined it in French – ‘le petit piment.’
Saka recalled: “It started from Auba. He said it in French. We’re doing one finishing drill one time in training and he kept staying it, and I kept scoring, I was shooting with so much power and he was calling me little chilli in French.
“I didn’t know what it was. I asked him after and he told me it means little chilli. From then on he kept calling me it and then it became a thing, and now it’s a big thing, a lot of people call me it, and make it my nickname.
“Of course, he got me the nice chain he promised he would get me if we won the FA Cup – it’s a show of how great a character he is and how important he is for me and I’d say for the team in terms of the happiness and the vibes in the dressing room. It’s really nice. He’d done a good job with that. I’m grateful. I love it. It’s unique.”
Saka’s first name could also be a sign for how much he will enjoy being part of the Euros and he explained the symbolic massage of Bukayo, adding: “It means God has added joy to my life. Joy, happiness, the same.
“I am really excited, happy to be here. I have been given an amazing opportunity to play in a major tournament so every opportunity I get I am just going to give it my best.”