Enyimba winger Anayo Iwuala says he is over the moon following his first-ever call-up to the Super Eagles ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho later this month.
On Friday, the wing wizard was invited as a replacement for UD Almeria forward Umar Sadiq, who was stopped by his Spanish club from honouring the invitation due to coronavirus restrictions.
Iwuala, who has netted twice and provided 8 assists in 19 matches across all competitions for Enyimba this season, added that he is very grateful to all who made his invitation to the Super Eagles a reality.
“First of all, I want to give God Almighty the glory for giving me this opportunity, it’s a very big opportunity,” the 22-year-old star said. “It doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come often.
“I’m very happy, I’m very happy for this call-up. I want to say a very big thank you to the coach; Gernot Rohr and the NFF organization for giving me this opportunity.
“I want also say a big thank you to my team; Enyimba International Football Club, my coaches, my teammates and everyone who believed I merited this invitation, I want to say thank you.”
Iwuala’s invitation to the Super Eagles came a day to his 22nd birthday, and the former Delta Force player said he has been inundated with ‘massive’ calls and congratulatory messages from family, friends and loved ones.
“Surely, there have been calls from my family, friends, and loved ones,” Iwuala said.
“And it’s really massive, I must say, because it’s a double congratulation, today (Saturday) being my birthday and yesterday (Friday) I got a call-up to the national team. So, it’s a massive one for me. The calls have been much.”
Iwuala’s call-up brings to three the number of home-based players invited for the double-header, following his teammate and goalkeeper John Noble and Abia Warriors defender Adeleke Adekunle, who was also handed a late invitation as a replacement for defender Kenneth Omeruo.
Needing only a point to secure qualification for the 2021 AFCON, 3-time African champions Nigeria will face the Squirrels of Benin in Porto Novo on 27th March, before playing host to the Crocodiles of Lesotho in Lagos, three days later.