In this episode of ‘History book’ we take your mind back to how Kelechi Ihenacho emerged the Golden boy of the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 world cup Golden Eaglets winning set and his football career to date .
Kelechi scored six goals and assisted seven others to inspire Nigeria to the U-17 World Cup win in 2013 .
For his efforts, the left footed forward claimed the Golden ball as player of the tournament and silver boot for emerging second top scorer .
Under the tutelage of Coach Manu Garba , Ihenacho and the Golden Eaglets shone like a million stars, scoring 26 goals in seven games to be crowned world champions at the Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on November 8, 2013 .
Like the Golden boy, Kelechi Ihenacho is currently the most prominent of the lads as he represents English Premier League side Leicester City whose home at the King power Stadium is suffering the pressure of early relegation heat .
On the international scene, UAE 2013 Golden boy Kelechi Ihenacho received his first Super Eagles call-up in 2015 and has gone on to make 43 appearances scoring 12 times .
Whereas majority of his teammates are attached to relatively lower sides in Europe and some have strayed off the beautiful game .
Ihenacho has kept the flag flying alongside the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest) , Francis Uzoho (Omonia Nicosia) , Isaac Success (Udinese) , Saviour Godwin (Casa Pia) and few others .
SOME OF THE 2013 GOLDEN EAGLET STARS STILL PLAYING FOOTBALL ACTIVELY
Apart from Kelechi Ihenacho and the five others listed above , the likes of Chidera Ezeh , Musa Yahaya , Dele Alampasu , Samuel Okon , Abdullahi Alfa , Chidiebere Nwakali , Dennis Nya , Aliyu Abubakar , Raymond Japhet, Akinjide Idowu , Chigozie Obasi and captain fantastic Musa Muhammad are still playing football actively .
THE GOLDEN BOY , KELECHI IHENACHO AND THE KING POWER HEAT
After the U-17 World Cup win in 2013 , Taye Academy product Kelechi Ihenacho attracted interest from top European sides Arsenal , Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto .
It was City who won the race for the 2013 U-17 Golden Ball winner , the Citizens secured a pre contract agreement that was activated when he turned 18 in 2014.
After failing to hold down a regular starting shirt at Manchester City due to the prescence of South American stars Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus , Ihenacho moved to present club Leicester City in August 2017 .
At Leicester City , Ihenacho is yet to hold down a regular spot in the starting XI like compatriot Wilfred Ndidi who missed out of the 2013 Golden Eaglets world cup squad due to injury .
His start and stop career with the Foxes however is not without Golden moments like their journey to English FA Cup truimph in the 2020/2021 season which gave berth to his “Seniorman Kelz” nickname .
Injury to English Forward Jamie Vardy provided Kelechi Ihenacho with the opportunity to lead Foxes attack on a regular basis in March and April 2021 .
During this time , Kelechi Ihenacho went on a goalscoring run of 12 goals in 10 appearances and won his first EPL player of the month award in March 2021.
The hype that followed his first Premier League Hat-trick on March 14 against Sheffield United reached peak sensation a week later when he scored a brace in the 3-1 FA Cup Quater Final win over Manchester United .
The Leicester City media platforms rang his ‘Seniorman Kelz’ nickname while the Board moved immediately to extend his contract until 2024 .
Kelechi Ihenacho scored the winning goal in the FA Cup Semi Final for the first time since 1981/1982 and Brendan Rodgers side finished the job at Wembley to be crowned English FA Cup Champions for 2020/2021 .
By the time he came off the bench to score the winner vs his former employers Manchester City in the 2021/2022 FA Community shield , the talk around Leicester City’s number 14 was that the Golden boy of UAE 2013 is ready to explode .
A quiet 2021/2022 season saw Ihenacho make 43 appearances in all competitions (Mostly as a substitute) , scoring 8 goals and assisting 9 others in 2215 minutes of football action.
Leicester City have endured a worrying start to the 2022/2023 season , the foxes sitting in the relegation zone after failing to win any of it’s six matches in the league this season .
On his part , Kelechi Ihenacho scored 52 seconds into his first EPL start vs Brighton but it was to no good for the foxes who suffered a 5-2 loss at the Amex stadium .
Maybe Brendan Rodgers needs to trust the Golden boy with more minutes to bang the goals to lead the Foxes away from danger .
Records show that when trusted , Kelechi Ihenacho like Gold will stand out . He did it in 2020/2021 when he enjoyed his most consistent spell in the starting XI since joining Leicester City.
Though 25 now , the magical left foot that shot him to limelight at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup is still very active and can conduct every heat like Gold .