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Sadiq: Babangida backs former Rangers forward for stardom

8:52 PM GMT+4 15/06/2021
Sadiq Umar
The former international has thrown his weight behind the 24-year-old attacker to achieve greatness in the future

Nigeria legend Tijani Babangida has backed Umar Sadiq to reach the peak of his career after experiencing a turnaround in his career at Almeria.

The forward started his European career with Spezia before joining AS Roma, including a loan spell with Rangers, where he underwhelmed.

The young attacker has, however, enjoyed a turnaround in his career since teaming up with Almeria and in the 2020-21 season, he scored a number of breathtaking goals.

In total, the forward racked up 28 strikes in 53 appearances across all competitions but his efforts were not enough to help the Rojiblancos gain promotion to La Liga.

The forward was recently handed a call-up to the Super Eagles for their international friendlies against Cameroon but withdrew due to an injury.

Babangida is backing him to become the future star of the Nigeria national team and achieve greatness in the future.

"Umar Sadiq has come of age. He's been doing well in his club even though it is Segunda in Spain,” Babangida told Tribal Football.

"He scored a great number of goals for his club. He has shown great potential and at the moment, if Sadiq gets his chance in the Super Eagles, I think he will be able to express himself more.

"I believe that very soon he will grab the opportunity to show the coach and Nigerians how good and capable he is to wear the national team jersey of Nigeria.

"How good he can be depends on him because there is always room for improvement, if a player keeps working hard."

Babangida is currently the president of the National Association of Nigerian Professional Football and also a football agent.

The former Super Eagles winger played for Roda JC, Ajax and Changchun Yatai before his retirement from professional football.

In December, Babangida advised the national team under manager Gernot Rohr to improve on their playing style.

“We never knew Nigeria as a country that plays kick and follow football but we already lost our culture of football in Africa," Babangida said.

“We have our own culture of play, just like the Brazilians, and I believe only Nigeria and Brazil have that culture in football. But we have lost it.

“You will discover that whenever we play against any team with whatever tactics they come up with, they fall down easily when we start playing our game.

“Now we have changed and we are not looking for those kinds of players that suit the system. And then we find it difficult because we are playing the 4-4-2 defensive system and that’s why we are always having problems.

“Nigeria is a country with a lot of potential players and the only country that can compete with Nigeria in terms of potential is Brazil.

“We are almost the same as them and that’s why we were always beating other Africans or other nations when we played against them because we have the quality, we have the group and we also have the culture. But that culture is what we have lost.”