In a bid to secure a spot in Nigeria’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, former U-23 Eagles striker, Sadiq Umar, who gained recognition after his outstanding performance in the Rio 2016 Olympics, is determined to make a triumphant comeback.
Following an ankle injury suffered while playing for Italian club AS Roma post-Rio 2016, Umar faced a six-month hiatus. The first half of his recovery period was spent on loan at Torino, where securing a regular playing position proved elusive. Subsequently, the 21-year-old has embarked on a new chapter, signing a six-month loan deal with Dutch club NAC Breda for the remainder of the season.
In an exclusive interview with Dutch news outlet bndestem.nl, Umar expressed optimism about his chances of participating in the upcoming World Cup. “A lot can change in four months. There is a chance, however small, that I can go to the World Cup in Russia. That’s why I came to NAC. I have to stay fit, play and score, of course. Then the World Cup should be possible,” he affirmed.
The decision to leave the highly competitive Serie A for the Dutch league was not taken lightly, according to Umar. “It was not an easy decision to leave Italy. The Serie A is high level, a highly competitive league. In the Netherlands, the level is lower; this is a challenge that I have to accept,” he explained.
Umar further revealed seeking advice from seasoned footballers, including Kevin Strootman, who endorsed the Dutch league as an excellent platform for attackers to hone their skills. Inspired by legends such as Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebayor, Umar aspires to refine his playing style, aiming to emulate the lethal prowess of the former.