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Hard work, not quota system the reason for my Super Eagles call-up – Sadiq Umar opens up

Almeria striker speaks to Oma Akatugba

Almeria and Super Eagles striker Sadiq Umar revealed how he feels about the national team in an exclusive interview with renowned journalist Oma Akatugba at his residence in Almeria.

The lanky striker answered questions about his involvement with the Super Eagles, for whom he made his debut in the 2021 AFCON against Egypt. He featured in every one of the Super Eagles matches in Cameroon.

Sadiq Umar was of the opinion that he had earned his spot on the national team by virtue of his hard work.

“People say I am in the national team because I am from the north, I laugh because if I truly wanted to use my connections, I would have been in the national team long ago. I scored 4 goals at the Olympics in Brazil. That’s not connection. I worked.”

“I am sad that Nigerians have turned the national team to tribal war. People support players based on their tribe. It breaks my heart. Even you guys the media have caused a lot of problems. When you like a player you praise him over the others. It’s not good.”

“This is why I do not like anything media. I allowed you come around me because | see you thrive to be different. Nigerians also believe those playing for bigger clubs must play ahead of others but it’s not about club but what you bring to the team. Who is Nigeria’s best ever? Jay-Jay Okocha? Which great club did he play for? Look at Rashidi Yekini. He didn’t play for a very top club even then, but was our greatest striker.”

Sadiq Umar first came into limelight in 2016 when he was the Dream Team’s main striker at the Olympics. He scored four goals as Nigeria finished the event in third place. The striker has represented some of Europe’s biggest sides including Glasgow Rangers, Partizan Belgrade and AS Roma before finding his home in Almeria in the Spanish Segunda division.

Sadiq Umar has scored 13 goals and provided nine assists in 25 league appearances for Almeria this season as he leads their promotion bid. The lanky 25-year-old striker has 36 goals and 16 assists in 70 total appearances for Almeria since joining the side.

The striker was included in the Super Eagles list for the two-legged FIFA World Cup playoff against Ghana on the back of his terrific form at club level.

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