About 12 years ago, every football lover in Nigeria had high hopes for a young attacker who was seen to be the perfect replacement for Julius Agahahowa. A young promising attacker with great skill with the ball, he was exceptional with his height and had great eyes for goals. He was just 16 and he was already a top class attacker.
Nigerians concluded that Obafemi Martins, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, and Julius Agahahowa can retire. They said so because the goal-scoring boot was already seen on this young player. But 12 years down the line, hopes and expectations have all been flushed down the drain as people wonder where this attacker is right now.
South Korean 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup tournament was one which introduced talented players from various parts of the world. The tournament comprised of young players who are 17 years and below.
Nigeria, who have a good record in teams of youth football in the World, was part of the tournament. They were drawn in the same group with France, Japan, and Haiti. Nigeria came top of the group scoring 6 goals in 3 matches and then progressed to round 16, the first knockout stage. They played Colombia and won 2 goals to 1 to move to the quarter-finals.
The Super Eagles played against Argentina and came victorious beating them 2 nil, Germany played Nigeria in the semi-finals and lost by 1-3. The climax of it all was Nigeria beating Spain in the finals on penalty shut-out.
The tournament unveiled lots of talents and Nigeria’s Macauley Chrisantus was one player who stood out in the tournament. He scored 7 goals in 7 matches and won the silver ball and the golden boot. On the other hand, Ransford Osei (Ghana), won the silver boot, while Toni Kross of Spain won the bronze boot.
The World Young Stars
The players (Toni Kross, Ransford Osei and Macaulay Chrisantus) were the the best players as they were all outstanding in the tournament at that time. The tournament had introduced three great players of one attacker and two midfielders (Macauley Chrisantus, Toni Kross, Ransford Osei).
Where is Chrisantus?
The question in the mind of everybody now is where is Macauley Chrisantus? Toni Kross (29) is obviously a well decorated footballer who have won 4 Champions Leagues, 4 Supper Cups, 5 FIFA Club World Cups, 3 German Championships, 1 Spanish Championship, 1 Spanish Supper Cup and a World Cup goal medalist.
On the other hand, Chrisantus (29) who was also introduced with Toni Kross in tournament as the best players has no trophy or any accolade attached to his name. Toni Kross who is currently playing for Real Madrid is not the only player who is doing well among the players introduced by the 2007 FIFA U17 Tournament. The tournament introduced the likes of Eden Hazard, Nacho, Danny Rose, Danny Welbeck, and David de Gea amongst others were also stars from the FIFA U17 2007 Tournament.
All of the players mentioned above are Champions League winners except for Danny Rose who is a Champions League finalist and they are all making great impact in their various Clubs and Countries.
Macauley Chrisantus has really not been consistent with Clubs. He played for Hamburger SV, FSV Frankfurt, Las Palmas, Sivassspor, AEK Athens and presently he plays for Zob Ahan Isfaham Football Club of Iran.
Who Is To Blame?
What could be the problem? Is the Football Federation of Nigeria (NFF) failing in terms of follow-up to keep the youth team together? Macaulay is not the only player who ‘nowhere to be found’. Dele Ajiboye who won the best goalie in the tournament is also MIA as he has never played outside the shores of the country. He currently plays for Plateau United of Nigeria while his contender currently is the first choice goal keeper of Manchester United and Spanish national team.
Is it that or is it the players who have failed to work hard enough to be top class like other players who have made themselves household names in the field of football.
Players like Eden Hazard, Danny Rose and Nacho were not known or heard of, few years after the tournament but they have over the years worked their ways into the limelight of Football. Today almost every fan knows about them, and Toni Kross has since remained in the spotlight since he was introduced in 2007. The question now is what happened to Macauley Chrisantus?
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