In the year 2008, Nigeria hosted her very first FIFA U17 tournament. The tournament revealed many young talents from ages 15–17, in the various countries of the world. Nigeria had one promising talent which has the abilities of the iconic Lionel Messi. Stanley Okoro was this player and he looks ready to take Nigerian football higher with his skillful left foot.
Who is This “Nigerian Messi”?
Stanley Okoro started his football career with Heartland FC. He was very impressive and was recommended to the Nigerian National U17. Nigeria is one country everybody reckons with when it comes to Youth football. They have won the competition five times making them the highest followed by Brazil which has won three.
Nigeria, Germany, Argentina, and Honduras, were all the same Group. The first game was between Nigeria and Germany, Germany did well to end the first half with three goals ahead of the host. Golden Eaglets of Nigeria under the management of John Ogbu as head coach did not relent.
They rose from 3 goals down to equalize the scores to 3-3, Stanley Okoro then 16 scored the first goal. The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria were able to qualify from the group stage beating both Argentina and Honduras. They advanced the round of 16 and thrashed New Zealand 5-0 with Okoro scoring one and Emmanuel scoring brace. Nigeria played Spain in the final and won before losing to Switzerland in the final by a goal to nil.
Stanley Okoro won the best player of the tournament while Emmanuel Sani won the golden boot for being the highest goal scorer. Now is ten years and still counting but the question now is where is “the Nigerian Messi” Stanley Okoro? Everysport gathered that many young players were in the tournament too, and we will be looking at these players and then try to compare them with Okoro.
Players who Came From The 2009 U17 Tournament
The present Barcelona goalkeeper Marc–Andre Ter Stegen, Mario Gotze, and Arsenal Mustafi and Granit Xhaka featured in the tournament. FIFA and UEFA goalie of the year Alison Becker, Casemiro, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Italian Stephan El–Shaarawy also played in the tournament. Tottenham star player Son Heung–Min, Sergio Roberto of Barca, Kiko and Alvaro Morata of Athletico de Madrid and Isco of Real Madrid all played the competition.
All of the players listed above have played in either the Champions League or the UEFA Europa League Cup final. They all play for top European clubs and are representing their various countries at the national level. Mario Gotze helped his country win the 2014 FIFA World Cup and he has also won the Champions League trophy. The players have worked their ways to the top and are celebrated massively but where is Stanley Okoro?
The “Nigerian Messi” after the 2009 tournament signed for Spanish second division side Almeria B scoring 8 goals in 50 appearances. He was loaned to Bulgarian side Chermo More after which he returned to Nigerian League side Abia Warriors in 2016/17. Stanley Okoro Is currently with Nigerian Professional League side Plateau United and has made only one appearance for the national team.
The question now is what happened to Stanley Okoro our said “Messi”?