Lateef Omidiji, a 12-year-old US-born striker, is set to spark a bidding war between Nigeria and the United States, Goal reports.
The teenager currently plays for the Under-14 team of Netherlands second division side Dordrecht FC but already has a place reserved for him in the Nigerian U15 side due to a first hand scouting by coach Danladi Nasidi.
Coach Nasidi said he traveled to the US to watch him play in 2014 and came out with the feeling he’s discovered a gem.
“He has speed, focus, the technique is so good, the tactical approach is fine and he has the physical ability. These things combine to make a good footballer,” Nasidi said.
“He’s a small boy and if he comes to play for Nigeria, it will be good for Nigeria,” he declared.
Perhaps not every 12-year-old gets to be spoken so highly of at his age. Lateef Jr. is currently leading scoring at his youth side despite being two years younger than his teammates and opponents.
“Although I have received interest from USA Football,” Lateef Jr. told Goal, “my heart lies with my fatherland and I’m hopeful of a call up from the coach Nasidi-led U13s/U15s this year.”
He said he’d like to represent Nigeria someday like his heroes Rasheed Yekini, Daniel Amokachi, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Mutiu Adepoju, players he grew up watching on home video tapes with his father and grandfather.
His father also wants him to play for Nigeria despite the interest from the United States and its alluring potentials.
Coach Nasidi is keenly following the development of the prodigy, something he must stay alerted to as there seems to be a lot of eyes.
“Many countries are interested in him, but since I’m monitoring his activities, I want to make sure we get hold of him before any other country,” Nasidi said.