By Sulaiman Alao
Anthony Nwakaeme got treated to a hero’s welcome upon his return to Nigeria following his superlative performance in the Israeli topflight football league known as the Ligat Ha’al in the recently concluded season.
The 27-year old Nigerian striker scored 11 goals in 34 matches to help Hapoel Be'er Sheva win the Israeli league title.
This is especially historic as it is the club’s first title win in 40 years.
The former Hapoel Ra’anana forward who is currently on holiday in Nigeria was mobbed by appreciative football fans that came out to cheer the player at a football kick-about at the Unity Primary School playground, Ajegunle, Lagos. The Hapoel Beer Sheva forward sporting his club’s number 9 jersey arrived the game’s venue in a convoy of three exotic cars accompanied by his elder brother Dickson, who is also a football star and some family members and friends.
After the kick-about which lasted for about two hours, a reception party was organized for Nwakaeme in the neighbourhood where he was again surrounded by a large crowd of people, all looking to hold and touch the player. Nwakaeme’s teammate at Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Nigerian international, John Ogu, later arrived to further liven up the gathering which by then had turned to a carnival of sorts.
In a short chat with the player, Nwakaeme expressed his gratitude to God for his success and thanked the fans for their support while hoping his achievement at club level would earn him a call-up to the national team.
“I want to thank God for a successful league season winning the league title with Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel. I also want to appreciate my fans, friends as well as family members for their prayerful support.
“It is my desire to play for my country and I am hoping to get the chance soon. I want to keep on doing well at my club because that is the part I have to play to earn a call-up to play for Nigeria,” concludes Nwakaeme.