Not many Nigerians knew that Nawalka has once ‘worked’ in Nigeria. Not Many knew that he is an astute fan of Nigerian football Here is the detail…
Anthony Egwuatu is a medical doctor – a gynecologist and endocrinologist, with two offices in Krakow and Kalwaria in Southern Poland. The Igbo man came to Poland 20 years ago, completed his medical study in Gdansk and stayed over here permanently.
He played for Wisla Krakow for several years and a few years in the USA. He later did football coaching training and became a coach.
Invitation to Nigeria
In 1999, Nawalka, as a Wisla Krakow’s scout, was invited to Nigeria by Dr. Anthony Egwuatu. His task was to comb Nigeria and find a decent striker for the top Polish club.
During his stay in Nigeria, Nawalka started with the careful studying of daily newspapers. He asked his Nigerian friend for some dailies everyday as he searched for useful information that could help him make headway in his assignment.
Spotting Talented Nigerian Footballers
At that time, one of the best scorers in the Nigerian league was Kelechi Iheanacho (not the current Leicester City forward) from Enyimba of Aba.
Chief Jude Ezechukwu, as Jasper United president, transfered some of the best Nigerian footballers to the Polish league at that time. In 1997, he transfered Kenneth Zeigbo to Legia Warsaw and Emmanuel Olisadebe – who later became a top striker of the Polish national team, to Polonia Warszawa. Eight years later Chief Ezechukwu complained in his office at Ajao Estate Lagos, that he still was not paid for those transfers – sometimes, a part and parcel of football business.
Poland’s Test Before Senegal
Dr. Anthony Egwuatu recalls that in 1999, Nawalka spoted some other Nigerian talents. Among them was Justice Christopher.
“That trip in 1999 was a great experience for Nawalka, leaving lots of good memories. He is very happy to have the Super Eagles now for a very important pre-World Cup friendly match. ”
*Michal Zichlarz is a Polish journalist of Sport newspaper and Interia.pl. Author of ‘Afryka Gola!’, a book about African football in Polish language.