Tribute to Abu Azeez, Nigeria’s first Beach Soccer Centurion

As we have come to see it with Abu Azeez, it doesn’t take too long to cement your place in history as the Nation’s greatest talent in a particular sport.

Abu is a professional footballer, whose life and path to beach soccer greatness is stuff of a magician. Right in his field yet dominating in another field that he can call his.

Abu may not have been at the more popular World Cup last summer, but he will be at the one in Paraguay next summer – November – at the Beach Soccer World Cup. 

Abu Azeez has featured for some of the biggest local football clubs in the country, playing on the best and the worst pitches around the country – and there are a lot of them – but it is the football on that shiny sandy pitch that has cemented his ‘god’ status.

Call it luck or whatever, but Abu never saw himself playing Beach Soccer let alone becoming a star, not in his wildest imagination.

In the summer of 2009, while at Owisebeb FC, his childhood club, a friendly was organised for the National Beach soccer team who were preparing for the World Cup in Brazil, and it so happens that they played against Abu’s team and Bang! That’s the moment everything changed.

At 15 years and 169 days, Abu Azeez made his Beach Soccer World Cup debut in Brazil, two years later he was scoring 5 goals against then World Champions Brazil, in a pulsating game that ended 9-4 in the Copa Lagos final.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Beach Soccer team was in dire need of a miracle. By the time the country’s highest goal scorer made his entry, he was on 99 goals. By the time he walked off the sand, he had scored his 100th, 101st, 102nd and 103rd goals.

Four goals that buried the host nation and sent Nigeria to the final of the tournament and a guaranteed spot at next year’s World Cup, increasing his tally in the tournament to 7 goals and another chance to return home with the top scorer award.

Abu Azeez departed from Nigeria to Egypt as a legend, but he will return to the country as a god.