By Jacob Ajom
Kenneth Omeruo shot into limelight in 2009 when he featured prominently for the Golden Eaglets that campaigned in that year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by Nigeria. The Eaglets ended the tournament as runners up after losing 1-0 in the final to Switzerland.
After that tournament, the former JUTH of Jos player began his ascendancy to fame. Omeruo’s growth has been tremendous. After his move from JUTH to Standard Liege U-19, Chelsea bought the strong defender in 2011. Intriguingly, since he put pen on paper for the Blues, Omeruo is yet to complete a season with the London club.
Rather, he has been successively loaned out to clubs like ADO Den Haag in Holland, Middlesbrough in the English championship, Kimpasa, Alanyaspor and Kasimpasa all in the Turkish Liga, Following the conclusion of the just ended season in Turkey, Omeruo has since returned to Chelsea.
His frequent movement in the transfer market was a choice the Nigeria international had to make as he told this reporter early this year, “I would rather go to where I can play regular football than stay at Chelsea and warm the bench.”
The Nigeria international has not given up on playing for Chelsea. “I will like to fight for a place in the main squad, if given the opportunity,” he said. But his frequent movement which has enhanced his playing time has seen the defender make a return to the national team.
Despite his young age – he is just 24 – the former Eaglet is looked upon as one of the experienced defenders the Super Eagles will depend on in Russia, should he make the cut. With 40 caps already under his belt, the former JUTH of Jos stalwart is one of the most experienced in the just announced provisional squad, Coach Rohr released for the World Cup.
Apart from his experience as a kid star, Omeruo graduated to the U-20 and ultimately the Super Eagles at a speed yet to be equalled. Because he was so good, Omeruo’s stint with the Flying Eagles was very brief(in 2011) and he was soon drafted to the senior national team by coach Samson Siasia in 2012. In 2013, Omeruo was part of the Coach Stephen Keshi-led Africa Cup of Nations winning squad.
A member of the NFF Technical Committee, Aminu Kurfi has said it all. He told a local website, “Kenneth’s experience will be crucial in the defence of the Super Eagles in Russia.”
The NFF bigwig continued, “we should note that all the other central defenders in line for the World Cup have yet to feature at the mundial, which is a big stage where you have to combine experience with commitment. I have followed Kenneth Omeruo recently playing for his club and I strongly believe he has what it takes to be on the 23-man final squad to the World Cup” His call up by Coach Rohr did not come as a surprise to many but given the fresh faces in contention for a place in the Eagles defence, one can only keep his fingers crossed on the fate of the versatile defender. On his personal targets Omeruo said, “I want to make the Nigerian squad to the FIFA World Cup and do well in the tournament. Secondly, we should qualify for the 2019 AFCON and I want to return to Chelsea and take my place in the first team in the 2018/19 English Premier League season.”
Omeruo is a strong centre back and very level headed individual that always want to give his best. Kenneth wants to be one of the best defenders in the world. .