Nigeria loses ‘Fuji’ to Japan


Nigeria has lost yet another rare footballing gem to Japan in the person of Fujita Joel Chima who has been named in the Japanese U-17 squad to the FIFA youth tournament starting this week in Brazil.

Chima who has Nigerian parents was born and bred in the Asian country on February 16, 2002 and is reputed to be such a prodigious talent that the Japanese FA wasted no time in drafting him into their squad.

Fujita Joel Chima and Francis Achi
Fujita Joel Chima and Francis Achi

According to Francis Achi, the media officer of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglet who are also in the tournament, Chima is an exact replica of legendary Nigerian midfield ace, Austin Jay Jay Okocha with deft touches on the ball and a vision that belies his young age.

Chima who plays for Tokyo Verdy in the J2 League, was the outstanding player when the Japanese U-17 team defeated Nigeria 1-0 in a warm up match on Sunday, October 20.

Achi reports that everything the Japanese boys did passed through Chima who was the orchestrator in the middle of the park.

“All the Japanese play went through Chima who shone like a million stars. All the first balls went to him and whenever the players found it hard to penetrate the Eaglets’ defence line, they went back to Chima who always found a way past our defence. He is that good and a replica of the great Jay Jay.’

Asked if there was any chance of Nigeria getting the boy to play for us, Achi said:

“There is no way Nigeria would ever het the boy. He speaks the Japanese language like ‘pure water’ and has been so much integrated into their system that it will be a very difficult task to get him to play for Nigeria.”

This is not the first time Nigeria has lost players to foreign countries with the latest being the Chelsea pair of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori who chose to play for the English national team instead of coming to play for Nigeria.



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