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KELECHI IHEANACHO; THE NEXT DIDIER DROGBA?

KELECHI IHEANACHO

The Nigerian international may have found the form of his life while he 24-year-old striker cannot stop himself from finding the back of the net each time he step on the field for the Foxes in their bid to secure another UEFA Champions League football in 2021/2022 season and their urge to lift the oldest football competition gong when they face Chelsea in their mouth-watering FA Cup final on May 15 in Wembley. 

The Owerri born attacker his ringing the play for the 2016 Premier League champion. He might have fallen from the grace in Manchester City and some months ago, the left footed attacker is finding his feet in King Power stadium but since injury had cut short the season of Harvey Barnes who had practically been the Leicester city player of the year, Iheanacho had become the revelation in his side scoring 10 Premier League goals in the process. 

However, the most interesting part of the Iheanacho rise to glory is how the African fans of the emerging 24-year-old attacker in Premier League have began to compare the Nigerian international with the former Ivory coast striker, Didier Drogba. 

Didier Drogba who did not only score for the West London Blues, but became a history maker and legend along side John Terry, Frank Lampard in history of the Chelsea Football Club. While he was bought in the summer of 2004, the Ivorian striker in his playing days spent eight years in London while he wore the famous Blues shirt winning one Champions League, four Premier League, Four FA Cup, three football League cup, two community shield cup in the process. 

The magnanimous striker in his prime was a thorn in the ass of many defender in world football and his prime ensure many success for his team with Chelsea and Ivory Coast brimming in glory for the service of the former Galatasary striker, who was among the Europe’s deadliest striker while he was in their rank.

However, Kelechi Iheanacho on the other hand might have a slow start to life in Premier League and while the Super Eagle striker might have been reduced in the perking order in his time at Etihad stadium, with which the Manchester City legend, Kun Aguero was making the headline on and off the pitch with his playing and the supporting cast are strong enough to displace any competitor then. 

The 18-year-old Iheanacho had no chance but the sparkling talented and attacker was always getting the little game time, just like the magician Dozen is doing currently, but switching off when he need to turned on may have assured City of letting the young Nigerian striker off their paycheck.

Furthermore, the creative striker may not have achieved the glory of the former Ivory Coast captain, but the U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates did show the world, the kind of talent embedded in the young striker, while he found the net of seven occasions and providing numerous assists despite loosing his mother in some months to the competition. 

However, the pressure at the highest place of Manchester City might have been the reason of his slow development sue to the fact that players for such club are deemed to perform on every minutes of their playing time for the club and Kelechi is not immune from such criticism despite his young age. 

Most importantly, has the Nigerian international reach the level of Didier Drogba? Certainly No but the diminutive attacker is on his way of becoming one in the nearer future. However, the journey of Kelechi Iheanacho to the highest level will begin with the Foxes triumph at Wembley stadium against Chelsea on May 15 as the 24-year-old attacker will need to elevate his game to enforce the Leicester City hand on FA Cup gong.

Although, the Nigeria attacker has leapfrog Didier Drogba as the African player with most goals in FA Cup history with 14 goals and he is now sitting goals ahead of the Ivorian striker with 12 goals. He is has also equalled Kun Aguero 14 goals in the competition as he put on a match winning performance for the Foxes against Southampton in the semi-final on Wembley turf.

More so, winning the FA Cup for the Foxes will be an outstanding achievement considering the fact that the cup had evaded the Foxes for 34years. And the impact of Kelechi in this Leicester City achievement would have meant a glorious one if the King Power stadium’s Club can manage to defeat Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the process. 

Winning the Premier League player of the month is the recognition of the highest level but it’s a statement character that should propel the left footed player into a better cadre of a player, provided he continue in the form he has found himself. 

Moreover, will he was interviewed four years ago, when he was plying his trade with the Manchester City under the guidance of Pep Guardiola scoring 7 goals in 29 appearance for the club in 2016/17 season. Kelechi stated the fact that Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney has been his role model growing up to the game, while he hope to put in practice what he learned from their game and personality to become one hell of a player like the duo.

However, gradually and consistently, the former Manchester City striker is now finding his feet in world football and he is getting the motivation needed to advance his game while he is enjoying his life under Brendar Rodger. 

While it may take a while to get to the monstrous level of Didier Drogba, the 24-year-old Nigerian international is taking the step as he is helping the Foxes in their quest for Champions League football and their journey to FA Cup glory would once mean a greater praise for the left footed player but it’s not that far till the emerging striker would reach the level of Drogba but for now, he is not near the beast level of Drogba that won so many trophies for the teams he played for throughout his career.