- Footballer Akintunde Ige describes how a knee injury prevented him from being part of the 2013 Golden Eaglets team
- Akintunde was vying for a spot in the team with Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Issac Success
- The Golden Eaglets won the 2013 U-17 FIFA World Cup with the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi shinning
He was supposed to be the next big thing in Nigeria. Even coaches with the 2013 Golden Eaglets called him a better talent than Kelechi Iheanacho who would go on to dominate at the 2015 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Then, injury struck just few months to the beginning of camp for final selection of players going for the U-17 World Cup.
Akintunde Gabriel Ige, a footballer hoping to make his break in Europe told NAIJ.com that he was one of the better striker with the 2013 Golden Eaglet set but then he suffered a knee injury in the Calabar camp in June of that year.
As with the case with many lost talents, the player was dumped by the national team who did not have the personnel or funds to take care of him.
The 20-year-old player was part of the 40-something players picked for a Dubai training camp but coaches told him his place in the squad was assured due to his immense talents.
Akintunde was best friends with goalkeeper Dele Alampasu but they have drifted as the goalie has become a Super Eagles squad option.
"A few days before we were to leave Calabar for Dubai, i got a knee injury and that ruled me out of contention with the team", the player told NAIJ.com.
"Dele Alampasu was my closest friend but we have drifted apart, now he is a professional, I am not."
"Injuries can be cruel my guy, I knew I could have been the main or second choice striker if not for my knee".
"Issac Success was the name everyone had on their lips but he was lucky as he got injured just few days to the World Cup when the squad list had been submitted.
"Kelechi Iheanacho was good but not spectacular in training but am happy he is shining now, I pray I will have a breakthrough like his."
After leaving camp, the player claimed he became playing in the amateur leagues in Nigeria in the hopes of making a break through as a young player with a bad knee.
He rejoined Temple Soccer Academy, the same institution that helped him secure a place with the Eaglets in the first place.
The footballer has also played for Dona FC of Lagos and MFM FC (currently in the top division) when they were still with amateur one.
The footballer also describes how he had a trial with Espanyol but that did not materialize into anything because of his injury.
"I had a trial with Espanyol but my knee was bad, we were three picked but the club were not convinced my knee will last."
In the intervening months, the player has hooked up with popular agent Ahmed Mohammed who has helped him secure a trail with a German team.
His career has suffered many setback, mainly because of his knee.
Despite this, Akintunde has not led his dream of becoming a proffessional footballer fade as he strives to regain his fitness ahead of a trial in Germany.