Golden Eaglets have potential stars of the future says Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyang after watching the Nigeria Under-17 team against Iran in the round of 16 at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium.
Gyang has been top scorer in the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League for the last two seasons, since switching from English club Sunderland to 11-time Emirati League champions Al Ain FC.
He told Fifa.com during the half-time break of Nigeria’s 5-0 rout of Iran: “There’s some good talent out there. You can see it plain as day. You can see that we are improving in Africa. We’ve got so much talent, and these kids can be stars one day. They’re just 16 and 17, trying to build their careers and by what I’ve seen so far, some of these players can go places.”
The 27-year-old striker, who is on the brink of featuring in his third straight World Cup for the Black Stars next summer in Brazil, singled out Eaglets midfielder Kelechi Iheanacho and forward Taiwo Awoniyi for special praise.
“Nigeria and Ghana are very close,” he opined. “Of course, we’re rivals in football but we’re brothers in every other way.
“Any time I meet up with Nigerians it’s like meeting up with family. We’re like the same people really. I’m rooting for them.”
The former Udinese of Italy and Rennes of France striker sat with his club mate and UAE national team sensation Omar Abdulrahman, while admiring the budding teenage stars from the stands.
With the new UAE season underway, Gyan is obviously busy trying to rake in goals for Al Ain, but his genuine interest in the young lad prompted him to promise to return to cheer Nigeria, who are the last of the African sides alive in the tournament after Argentina beat Cote d’Ivoire 2-1.
“…I want to get back to one of these games here. I like to support the young ones and they’re pretty good to watch too, I must admit,” he added.