2009 U17 World Cup MVP On Why He Gave Up Football Despite Interest From Chelsea
Published: November 19, 2019
2009 U17 World Cup MVP On Why He Gave Up Football Despite Interest From Chelsea
Former Nigeria U17 international Sani Emmanuel has explained that he had to retire from the game at a young age because of a chronic foot injury.

The My People FC product was awarded the Golden Ball as the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup hosted by Nigeria, scoring five goals to help the Golden Eaglets reach the final of the competition, where they lost to a Switzerland team parading AC Milan's Rodríguez, Arsenal's Xhaka and Benfica's Seferovic.

After the World Cup, Emmanuel had successful trials at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur but saw a dream move to the Premier League fall through because of work permit issues.

Asked why he gave up football when Chelsea and Lazio wanted to sign him, Emmanuel told Leero Sports News : ''I had problems on my foot, even during the tournament in 2009.

''If you remember, I often came on in the second half because the pain was unbearable.

''After the World Cup, I could not play at all because I had played too much with pain. Then I had to stop my career, even today, I always feel hurt on the front of the foot.''

Emmanuel went on to say that he reached out to several Nigeria internationals for assistance but didn't get a positive response.

''I tried to contact a lot of Nigerian international players, but I never got an answer and it was very difficult to get money.

''I returned to anonymity, without work, without anything. I wanted to set up an academy, but I never managed to get help and I'm still looking for it.''

Emmanuel was taken to Chelsea by Nigerian agent John Shittu, who brokered the deal that took former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel to Stamford Bridge in 2006.

Igho Kingsley