18th April, 2012
When Sani Emmanuel of My People Football Academy, owned by the Synagogue, Church of All Nations played in a yearly grassroots football competition; Boska Cup, only a handful of fans could predict that he would hit the limelight so soon.
An altar boy with the church until the Prophet and chief financial of the club, Prophet Temitope Joshua, noticed the hidden talents in the youngster, and supported him to take up football as a career.
Within the football circle, Emmanuel’s meteoric rise is something that has surprised many people. At such a very tender age, Emmanuel is good enough to play abroad. No wonder he left the shores of the country in search of greener pastures, especially in a competitive league like the Serie A, where other footballers of his age would have considered a no-go-area.
Against all odds, Emmanuel is fighting tooth and nail to break into the first team of Lazio Football Club. Although, the array of stars in the Italian club would not allow him to play in the first team at the moment, but the former Flying Eagles star is finding his rhythm in the reserve team of Lazio.
Only on Monday, Emmanuel scored his a first half hat-trick for Lazio in a 12-0 thriller against Ascoli in a reserves League game.
Emmanuel also assisted compatriot, Onazi, another product of the Synagogue, to score the fifth goal of the game.
Onazi hopes Lazio finish on top of their group and go all the way to win the Final 8 that will decide the league winners.
“It was a great match and I’m very happy with my performance though I scored a goal through Emmanuel’s effort. I also assisted him in the three goals he scored. Our aim is to win the Final 8,” Onazi said.
Lazio face Napoli this weekend in the last match of the regular season, while the Final 8 that will determine the champions will be played among top two teams from the three zones and two best third teams at the end of April.
Emmanuel and Onazi featured in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in Nigeria from 24 October to 15 November, which Nigeria eventually lost 0-1 to Switzerland.
The Synagogue boy scored five goals to win the Golden Ball award, which made him the Best Player of the tournament.
Emmanuel, who also played for the Coach John Obuh-led Flying Eagles at the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Colombia, is no doubt on the rise in the Serie A and the youngster can only get better.