Good things, they say, come in small packages. That seems to be the best way to describe the petite but nimble-footed Umar Aminu.
At first glance, your picture of this 20 year old is that of a harmless innocent kid from the neighborhood, but on the field of play, this look will turn to that of a terrorizing predator, for that is what Umar is.
Siasia’s U-23 squad has seen players come and go, but one player that has stood out in terms of discipline and dedication is Umar Aminu, who had to cut short is vacation after a hectic season which saw him help his Turkish club Osmanlispor from the second division to the Turkish top flight in only one season with them.
Speaking after the Dream Team’s 6-1 bashing of an Abuja-selected All-Stars team led by Super Eagles’ Juwon Oshaniwa, Umar, who played a commanding role in the demolition exercise said with the promotion of his club to the top flight in Turkey, he is now more than ready to do the nation proud by honoring national invitations any time he is wanted by national team selectors, as playing in one of the top leagues in Europe will not only give him the much needed experience, but also the confidence.
“It’s not easy for a foreigner to be so appreciated and valued in a top league like Turkey, but with the exploits of Emmanuel Emenike and others, I am respected and have been able to adapt well to the league. Don’t forget that it was in Turkey that I made my name while playing for Nigeria in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. I scored two goals at the championship. Before then, I had emerged the highest goal scorer at the African Youth Championship held in Algeria with four goals.”
While commending Coach Siasia for inviting him to the Dream Team, Umar said it is his dream to not only excel at the All-Africa Games in Congo in September but also at next year’s Olympics, after he must have helped the team qualify for and win the African U-23 Championship in Senegal in December.
He said from the few days he has spent in camp, Coach Siasia has been able to make him realize that playing for the national team is not a birthright but a privilege which any player that is given the opportunity should grab with both hands and give his 100 percent.
On his future plans, Umar said: “For now, I have three more years for my contract to end with Osmanlispor, so my attention is now on how to work hard on my game to ensure that we pick one of the tickets to play in Europe next season, then by so doing strive hard to play for the Super Eagles in the nearest future.”