BY YUSUF AKINLOTAN
Much may not have known or heard about him yet, including football loving Nigerians, but this 14-year-old Nigerian American prodigy, Lateef Omidiji Jr. certainly may not only lead the National Under -17 Golden Eaglets soon. Prediction also favours him to become a world top class player to watch out for in the round leather game.
Lateef Oladokun Omidiji .Jr was delivered of a Nigerian Muslim father, Mr Lateef Omidiji.Snr, and an American mother, Crystal on 12th September, 2003 in the United State of America.
Raised in Las Vegas Nevada, US, young Omidiji started playing summer underage tournaments at age nine with his academy side, Heat FC. His European exploits thereafter earned him playing experience with top English youth teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Southampton FC. Omidiji Jr.’s talent captured the attention of those clubs prior to his move to Netherlands where the teenager currently plays for Feyenoord FC U-17 Academy.
His best attributes are his technique, vision, speed, strength and intelligence on the field of play. At 14, the football wonder kid resume has increased having won various youth tournaments in the United State of America and England. His Performance at those tournaments caught the attention of Nigeria U-13/U-15 National team coach, Danladi Nasidi, who recommended him to the Nigeria Football Federation.
Football definitely runs in the family of Lateef Omidiji jr whose grandfather hails from Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital. His elder sister, Sophia Omotola Omidiji, plays division 1 football in Netherland and she has since been invited to the Nigeria’s Under-20 Female National team, the falconets while the younger brother, Rasheed Omidiji also stars for FC Den Bosh Academy in the Dutch Youth League.
Aside from growing up in the US, Lateef Omidiji Jr, speaks passable Yoruba due to his regular father’s home-country visits having been used to taking ‘Amala and Ewedu”(an African traditional meal)in Las Vegas.
Should NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick, and his vice, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi who are now monitoring the development of the youngster, able to convince the him to pledge his allegiance to Nigeria instead of US, the development, according to some pundits may spark up a ownership rivalry war between Nigeria and the US which is keen contention to draft the minor into its Under-15 National Soccer team.
Lateef Omidij Jr is highly rated by those who saw his video clips on youtube as a football wonder kid just as he is well known by football academy coaches across Europe and America.
Nigeria is the reigning under -17 FIFA World Cup Champion after winning the last edition in Chile 2015 for a record 5th time but the country would not defend the title as Golden Eaglets failed to qualify for the 2017 edition in India.
Meanwhile, NNF has now looked towards the 2019 FIFA Under -17 world cup qualifiers where Omidiji Jr is expected to spare head the Golden Eaglets Squad.
Omidiji Jr will enter into the record book of Nigerian players like Alex Iwobi, Leon balogun, Ola Aina amongst others who have switched Nationality to don the Nigerian colour after being previously capped by their country of birth at the under rage level.