Having proven himself in the Nigerian Glo Premier League where he scored 13 goals and made a handful of assists for Abia Warriors last season, Chisom Chikatara is gradually building a reputation for himself at the ongoing African Nations Championship in Rwanda.
A quick, diminutive, and agile right-footed striker, Chikatara is primarily known for his outstanding pace, mobility, and athleticism as a footballer, as well as his striking power, and his strength, despite his young age. At the CHAN tournament, the ‘Kolanut Boy’ proved his worth as he grabbed a hat-trick in Nigeria’s 4 – 1 thumping of Niger Republic after coming on from the bench in his first match, to announce his arrival in Africa and world football.
The level of his composure and breath-taking goals against the Menas of Niger showed a player who has grown from being a pro-league player to a prolific striker ready to explode even if given only the rarest opportunities. With games against Tunisia and Guinea still ahead of the team at the CHAN tournament, Chikatara must ensure he keeps his cool and not allow the success to get into his head.
During the 2012/2013 season, Chikatara, was the highest goal scorer for the Abia Warriors in the Pro League as they gained promotion to the Nigerian Glo Premier League and was never shy of shaking the back of the net.
Although he was never considered a first team striker during their preparation for the tournament due to the fact that the likes of Sunshine Star’s Babatunde Adeniji and Warri Wolves striker, Gbolahan Salami were rated above him, however, the absence of Salami opened a gap for him to fill, he has been surprising us ever since.
It is always good when a player hits the headlines with his goals but then, they seem to fizzle away like thin air in subsequent matches due to pressure or over confidence. Such may be Chikatara’s problems if he fails to manage his sudden rise at the African Nations Championship.
The last time a Nigerian player scored a hat-trick in any competitive match was at the Confederations Cup in 2013, where Nnamdi Oduamadi scored three goals as Nigeria defeated Tahiti 6 – 1 prior to the World Cup which was hosted by Brazil in 2014.
In spite of Nigeria’s array of strikers such as Obafemi Martins, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Emmanuel Emenike, Odion Ighalo, Anthony Ujah, and Aaron Samuel; it’s difficult to mention which one of them have scored a hat-trick for the senior national team in recent games.
Besides, nothing stops Chikatara from giving some of the established strikers in the Super Eagles a run for their money regardless of their hype if he maintains his imperial goal scoring form because no players are guaranteed an automatic shirt on the team.
Finally, considering the fact that the transfer window is still open, if he continues to maintain this form, he may become a target for major clubs in Europe and within Africa.