Who is the Hoffenheim German-Nigerian U-19 star that has caught the eyes of Gernot Rohr?
The three-time African champions have had a couple of players born or raised in the diaspora represent them, and they may be set to welcome another into their squad
Over the weekend, Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr was in his native Germany, not for a holiday but to watch some games.
The 68-year-old tactician was at the Allianz Arena to watch Bayern Munich take on Hoffenheim, with Kevin Akpoguma, who plays for the away side, likely to be the reason for Rohr’s presence.
But while his presence in the game was not a surprise, Rohr’s decision to watch the clash between the U-19 sides of the two teams the following day caught our attention.
Soccernet.ng can exclusively report that Rohr was there to watch a 17-year-old German-Nigerian, who could potentially represent the Super Eagles.
Who is the youngster?
Destiny Uche Obiogumu is the youngster’s name. He was born in Benin City but left when he was two years old and was brought up in Germany, so he has a German passport.
What is his playing position?
Obiogumu is a left-winger, but he is versatile and can play anywhere in the attacking role. The 17-year-old played as an attacking midfielder in Hoffenheim’s U19 clash against Bayern Munich U19 on Sunday, October 24.
The youngster impressed Rohr with a goal from his number 10 role as the game ended 1-1. It was his fifth goal in eight games in the Junior Bundesliga South/South West.
Meanwhile, Rohr believes he is similar to former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi. Although Mikel played in a deeper role at Chelsea, he actually started his career as an attacking midfielder.
He also played as a number 10 during his time with the Super Eagles, which is why Rohr’s comparison of Obiogumu with the former Chelsea star is not really out of place.
The German tactician even had some words of praise for the youngster after he scored against Bayern’s U-19.
“It’s a good sign to see a player score a goal,” Rohr said.
Has he committed to the Super Eagles?
Rohr sees him as a player for the future and had a conversation with the player after the game. Obiogumu, who was pleasantly surprised by the attention of the Super Eagles manager, has not yet featured for any of the German youth teams and is able to go into the Nigeria set up as soon as possible.
He is yet to play for Die Maancshaft’s youth teams, meaning he doesn’t need to apply for an international switch should he decide to represent Nigeria.
Obiogumu can always seek the advice of Kevin Akpoguma, who plays for Hoffenheim’s first team. Akpoguma was also eligible to play for Germany but represented Nigeria at international level, even though he captained the German U20 team at the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup.
Also, he could count on players like Leon Balogun and Maduka Okoye, who both grew up in Germany but decided to play for Nigeria.
At 17, Obioguma is not ready for the senior national team. He needs to prove himself with an A team before he can begin to look the part. Rohr believes that he could be blooded into the Nigeria national youth set up as a first means of bringing him into the fold.
Nothing is assured yet, but he has caught the eyes of Rohr, who is already laying the groundwork to welcome another promising talent.
But for now, Obiogumu should be all about growing at his club.