15 Years old and already in the big leagues
“He is a very intelligent player, talented and has potential, which is why I made the decision to pick him for the CHAN. It will allow him to gain experience. For me, this player is the future of Nigeria. He will be a star in a few years. Being 15 years did not stop me from selecting him backed by his talent and technique. He is above the lot. He’s a player who can do a lot with the ball,” Nigeria coach Salisu Yusuf said.
Nigeria number 20, Mohammed Nur is the youngest player at the tournament. Born on 2 December 2002, the 15-year-old came on as a substitute in the Group C clash against Rwanda, and played for seven minutes. He is not at the CHAN just to make the list. Despite his young age, he is already writing in capital letters the first lines of a promising career.
“I started out on the street, like all players in Nigeria, before being spotted by coaches. Then I joined the club, El Kanemi Warriors. I started my career just a year ago. I was with the U-17 before the national coach Salisu Yusuf invited me to the squad for the CHAN.
“Honestly, I did not expect that. I started my career a year ago and I am already playing a major tournament like CHAN. It’s a real fairy tale. In addition, I made an appearance against Rwanda in the first match. While playing in my neighbourhood, I didn’t expect that one day, I would become an international and don the colours of Nigeria. As a muslim, I can only thank almighty God,” Nur recalled.
Very ambitious, the teenager obviously has a dream like every kid and aspires to hit the world stage like his idols.
“On a global level, I really like Mesut Ozil, but in Nigeria, I have my idol, which is John Obi Mikel. I wish to have a career like him because he is a great player. I mentioned Obi Mikel because I do not remember the magic moments of Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha. I also like our number 10, Rabiu Ali, who is nicknamed Pelé. He is a great player,” added Nur.
In the case of the latter, admiration seems reciprocal. Ali, who is the playmaker of the Nigerian team has taken the youngster under his wings and says nothing but good.
“What I like about him (Nur) is that he listens to advice. He is ambitious and listens to everything. Technically and physically, he’s an extraordinary player. For this tournament, he is learning but for the next tournaments, expect to discover a great player,” Ali observed.
Obviously Nur has dreams for the future, a better tomorrow, but does not fail to appreciate the opportunity offered by his current club, El Kanemi Warriors.
“It’s alright. I’m living right now in Nigeria with the money my club gives me, not in great conditions but it can get better. Like all ambitious players, I hope to sign a professional contract abroad. It will allow me to make a good living, also progress in the sport.”
In the meantime, Nur has time to learn at a competition which has paved the way for many players to stardom.