In the past two days, Golden Eaglets ‘golden boy’, Ibrahim Said has dominated the front and back pages of Nigerian newspapers following his heroics by netting a hat trick against Ecuador in the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup, with the team qualifying for the round of 16 with a game to spare.
Having caught the eye in the Golden Eaglets opening day win against Hungary, Said has been the standout player for the five-time world champions since the start of the competition in Brazil.
But there are things fans of the team do not know about the young lad.
Here are five interesting facts about Ibrahim Said:
1. Ibrahim Said started his playing career with Dabo Babes Academy in Kano in 2017 and left briefly for Zoo United before returning to Dabo Babes Academy. He was previously playing for the feeder team of Dabo Babes Academy before he was promoted to the senior team.
2. Said was discovered by Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba during a scouting programme in Kano in 2017. He was one of the four Dabo Babes players selected by the Nigeria U17 boss.
3. An MRI scandal almost prevented him from representing Nigeria at the U17 World Cup. He was dropped from the Golden Eaglets squad to the U17 AFCON due to an administrative lapse.
Said was on grade 5 when the initial test which might have been tampered with was conducted. He was invited again to the team ahead of the tournament in Brazil but was not part of the squad to the UEFA Assist Tournament in Turkey last month. Eventually he was included on a 25-man provisional roster before making the final list.
4. He has been nicknamed ‘Any Number’ by his Golden Eaglets teammates and officials. Although his favourite position is attacking midfield, he is also comfortable playing as a right and left winger, holding midfielder, right wing-back and right fullback. He is very skillful and has been likened to former Super Eagles player, Victor Moses.
5. Said is attracting interest from teams based in Belgium, England, Netherlands and Sweden and the number is set to increase after his masterclass display in the 3-2 win against Ecuador.