Little may be known about the new invitee to the Super Eagles camp, Fanendo Adi ahead of the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Pharaohs of Egypt in Kaduna on March 25th and in Cairo on March 29th.
Adi began his professional career in Slovakia before bouncing to five different clubs in Europe in three years, most notably with FC Copenhagen in Denmark, where he spent the first half of the 2013-14 season. Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers snagged him on loan with an option to buy in May 2014, and the rest is history.
Interestingly, the Portland Timbers star was a dual athlete, capable of becoming a great basketball player in the NBA but instead, football became his first major dream.
According to mlssoccer.com: There aren’t many 6-foot-4 target strikers with the nimble feet of Fanendo Adi. The tall, prototypical No. 9 is a true menace around the area, constantly popping up in dangerous spaces with a key strike or a header.
Adi grew up poor in a small central Nigerian village in Benue State – of course, always playing soccer. He told Timbers.com early this season that he would play for hours, sometimes only wearing bedroom slippers, and often times skipping out on household chores much to the chagrin of his mother.
“A lot of trouble. A lot of trouble, actually,” Adi told MLSsoccer.com with a laugh.
It’s still a surprise that the newly invited Super Eagles players had played for the under-age level such as the U23 national team, the highest level he last represented in 2011 without getting a further look-in from coaches in Nigeria.
The Nigerian has been an irrepressible force during his time in MLS, notably scoring twice and adding an assist in the 2015 MLS Cup playoffs to help the Timbers surge to their first MLS championship.
From barefoot street games in Nigeria to the biggest stage in MLS, Adi proved himself as one of the league’s most fearsome threats – both in the air and on the ground – in less than two years
Never has he been so settled as he seems to be in the MLS, in his 2 years and counting, the 25-year-old hit his peak scoring form last season with 18 goals in the MLS to help the Western Conference team win the MLS Cup.
When he’s not playing soccer, Adi said he likes playing basketball, tennis or just hanging out with friends. But when it comes to special hobbies, eating was at the top of the list. And his wife’s Egusi soup with pounded yam, a traditional Nigerian soup, is, apparently, to die for.
Adi who had initially nursed the hope of playing for the Super Eagles under former coach, Sunday Oliseh, has finally, gotten his wish fulfilled and this could just be the turning point for him.
Having gotten the opportunity of playing on the senior national team, it would be great to see him dazzle and not fizzle away in the field like thin air; something which has affected other Super Eagles invitees in the past.
Watch some of Adi’s sick goal skills below, oh and not to mention him celebrating a goal with a chainsaw!: