Porto’s summer signing Zaidu Sanusi has revealed his delight in receiving his first ever call-up to the Nigerian national team, saying it is a dream come true for him.
Two years ago, the left-back would have laughed off suggestions of being invited to the Super Eagles as he was playing in the third-tier of Portuguese football but his profile changed with a move to Santa Clara, for whom he played well, putting him on the radar of the Super Eagles coaches.
Sanusi has admitted that he knew beforehand that he was in contention to be named to the Super Eagles squad for their upcoming games against Ivory Coast and Tunisia because he was contacted by one of Gernot Rohr’s assistants based in England.
“Before I never thought about receiving a call-up because I played in the third division in Portugal. I was not thinking of getting called up until I move to the Primeira Liga, Sanusi said.
“One day my agent called and told me about my transfer to Santa Clara, I was very happy and he told me that if I played good Nigeria national team could call me but I didn’t think it was possible.
“When I was playing in Santa Clara people were saying I should be called up but I told them I was unaware of an invitation to the squad but I continued to pray, maybe my dream can come true.
“One of Rohr’s assistants residing in England (chief scout Tunde Adelakun) called me and told me I should be expecting a call-up to the national team, but he told me to keep it a secret as he wasn’t sure one hundred percent so I continued to pray.
“Right now I have not spoken to the head coach Rohr.”
The powerful and pacy left-back has cited Bayern Munich star of Nigerian descent David Alaba as the fullback he looks up to and admitted that Super Eagles legend Taye Taiwo has also influenced his style of play.
“The left-back I look up to in the world is David Alaba of Bayern Munich, many, many people say that I play like Alaba but I want to be myself, I like him so much.
“Alaba can defend and attack and I’m like him. It’s very difficult for a left-back to attack and defend but Alaba does that very well.
“Many years ago I used to watch Taye Taiwo, sometimes I search for him on YouTube to see how he plays,” Sanusi added.
Sanusi, 23, made his competitive debut for Porto on the opening day of the season against Sporting Braga last weekend and is in contention to feature in this season’s Champions League.