European giants FC Barcelona have joined other top European clubs in the hot chase for the sensational Golden Eaglets right-back Yahaya Lawali who set tongues wagging at the ongoing U17 Africa Cup of Nations (U17AFCON), www.aclsports.com reports.
Nigeria exited the U17AFCON in an excruciating manner after their 1-2 loss to Burkina Faso at the quarter final stage but Lawali had done enough in four games to captivate all during which he was rewarded with Man of the Match awards against Zambia and Morocco.
While Barcelona have been following Lawali with keen interest, French Ligue 1 clubs RC Lens, Olympique Lyon, and Strasbourg seem to be taking the lead in the race to secure his signature.
The versatile 16 year old who can play as a right-back, left-back, central midfielder and a winger, made the Team of the Tournament during the WAFU B regional U17 qualifying tournament which Nigeria won last year, following his three assists from four matches; as Nigeria dispatched Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso on their way to lifting the trophy.
And the #NGAMAR TotalEnergies Man of the Match is Yahaya Lawali!
Congratulations! 🏅🤩#TotalEnergiesAFCONU17 | @Football2gether pic.twitter.com/2amHi3EHVd— #TotalEnergiesAFCONU17 2023 🏆 (@CAF_Online) May 3, 2023
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Other European clubs including Sevilla FC of Spain and Belgian clubs Anderlecht FC and KAA Gent are some of the other teams who are ready to snap up the Mahanaim FC starlet, sources close to his representatives Player Solution Agency revealed.
Yahaya Lawali played all of Nigeria’s 360 minutes at the AFCON U17, he had a hand in Nigeria’s first equalising goal against South Africa after his corner kick was flicked-on by a South African defender for a goal scored by Charles Agada.
He made lots of attacking and defensive runs, delivered quick crosses to the box and intercepted many balls during the AFCON U17 which unfortunately ended in the quarterfinals for Nigeria. The ending however did not stop him from being named in the CAF Best XI for the group stage.
Considering Nigeria’s track record of producing stars at the U17 level such as Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and others, who have gone on to become global stars, it will be interesting to see where Yahaya Lawali chooses to continue his football development going forward.