Little Mayowa Emaiyi lives, breathes and eats football.
The 13-year-old pupil of Obele Community Junior High School, Lagos is a sight to behold as he handles the ball like a professional player despite his young age.
The youngster’s life revolves on football’s orbit; he wants to do everything that Argentina megastar Lionel Messi does with the ball, and even more!
“I like the way Messi talks to the ball,” Emaiyi told Sports Extra. “When Messi scores goals, there’s something unique about them. Also, he’s a free-kick specialist and I am learning all I can by watching him.
“Every time I see Messi on the pitch, he appears to talk to the ball and it obeys him. I want to play like Messi and this is why I decided to train as hard as I can to attain that level.”
Young Emaiyi, who plays as a midfielder for the U-13 category of Oasis Football Academy in the National Stadium, Lagos is about to be promoted to the U-15 according to the club secretary Lawal Shamsudeen.
Shamsudeen explained to Sports Extra that Mayowa was already too good to be kept with the U-13 category as his style of play was becoming more mature.
Shamsudeen said, “Mayowa is a bundle of skills. We recently played a friendly game with one club from Lawanson in Surulere.
“The boy’s passes were so accurate and he even scored a goal for us in that match. In fact, the coach of the other side was full of admiration for the boy and told us we had a gem on our hands.
“We are pushing him to the U-15 level so that he can learn, develop and match his skills with the older boys.”When asked if he supports any Nigerian club, Emaiyi said, “I don’t know any Nigerian club because I don’t get to see them play on TV but I often see European teams playing regularly.”
However, he wants to turn out for La Liga giants Barcelona and the Super Eagles in the future.
“I want to play for my country and win the World Cup for Nigeria as a footballer, that’s my dream,” the footballer said.
Mayowa’s mother, Mrs Bose Emaiyi, told Sports Extra that Mayowa sometimes jogs from Ijesha, where they reside, to the National Stadium in Surulere, just to meet up with his training schedule.
She stated that an emotional and trying period for her son was when Messi was charged for tax evasion by the Spanish authorities in 2017.
“Mayowa cried for days to the point that I got angry with him and asked him if Messi was a member of his family? That shows how much he loves Messi and Barcelona. He told me that he will become a great footballer in the future and I told him to focus on his studies too. I pray for him always, that his dream comes to reality,’’ Bose told Sports Extra.