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Ifeanyi Emmanuel: Akwa United sign teen goalkeeping sensation

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Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Akwa United, have signed highly-rated teenage goalkeeper, Ifeanyi Emmanuel Nchekwube.

Emmanuel, 19, joins the Promise Keepers from amateur side, OneTouch FC.

The club confirmed the youngster’s arrival alongside 11 others including the veteran goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye, on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists, Emmanuel said it is a dream come true to join Akwa United which he described as the “biggest club in the country”.

The 19-year-old expressed gratitude to God, all his managers, family and the Uyo-based club for believing in him.

He, however, promised to continue his meteoric rise and ultimately make it to the national team.

According to him, he is in Uyo to learn, grow and develop his craft further.

Rated among the best young shot-stoppers in the country, Emmanuel toiled in obscurity for years in relative unknown football academies in the Federal Capital Territory.

He finally got an opportunity at One Touch before moving with his family to Benin Republic. There he joined amateur side Foga FC for the 2018/19 season.

Ifeanyi returned to Nigeria in 2019 and tested himself with the U-17 set up. However, due to his age and inexperience, he failed to make the cut despite impressing the managers.

The same year, the teenager moved to Sporting Royal and then Garden City Panthers the following season.

Emmanuel would then have another stint at One Touch this year just after a trial with the Flying Eagles.

Standing at 6.3ft, Emmanuel has an intimidating presence at the back. He is renowned for his superb reflexes, composure and confidence way beyond his age.

A modern-day sweeper-keeper,  the teen anticipates play and tends to rush off his line to oppress opponents. He is also adept with the ball on his feet.

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