Arsenal Star of Nigerian Descent Set to Meet with President Tinubu

Arsenal Star of Nigerian Descent Set to Meet with President Tinubu
Credit: Iconsport

Gunners forward Bukayo Saka will reportedly close out his tour of Nigeria by meeting the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Abuja.

Saka, who was born in London, England to Nigerian parents, has always resonated with his Nigerian side thanks to a strong grounding in his heritage. This visit to Nigeria is not his first but the tour is, and it has sparked excitement among Nigerians especially Nigerian fans of Premier League club, Arsenal.

Saka will end his Nigeria tour with a meeting with the newly-elected president in the coming days before returning to England.

Saka visits Lagos and Ilorin, spends time in local neighbourhoods

Bukayo Saka arrived in Nigeria on May 31, 2023, a few days after the 2022/23 Premier League season came to an end. The 21-year-old forward had just played a gruelling season with Arsenal, racking up 48 appearances in all competitions according to Transfermarkt.

Including his games with England at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the various international breaks that happened during the season, Saka racked up a total of 57 appearances for club and country. He could end the season with 60 appearances as he is also included in the June 2023 squad for England’s international fixtures.

Before the Three Lions training camp for their June international games begins, Saka took the opportunity to visit Nigeria and spend time in the states and the neighbourhoods where his family have their roots.

He landed in Nigeria via the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, and spent some time touring the city before visiting the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who proclaimed himself to be an Arsenal fan. He received a warm welcome from the governor before moving to Kwara State to see his grandparents.

The picture, which was shared on social media, elicited lots of supportive comments from his fans. He is currently touring the state to further deepen his roots alongside his brother who travelled to Nigeria with him.

Neither Saka’s camp nor the presidency has confirmed that the meeting between the player and the president will be taking place. Goalball Live will keep you abreast of the developments as they happen.

“I feel very much Nigerian,” Saka says to media during Nigeria tour

Saka’s time in Lagos has been split between his charity work with the Big Shoe Foundation and his sightseeing. In 2022, the Arsenal forward paid for the surgeries of over 100 children in Kano and this time around, he visited some orphanages in Lagos with the organisation.

The media traced him to one of the orphanages he visited and the perennial question of why he chose to represent England instead of the Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles, was asked.

The lad revealed that he was courted by the immediate past president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick, but he chose England because it was the better choice for his career.

Speaking to the journalists, per Reuben Abati, Saka said: “I will tell you this. I was very close to playing for one of the youth teams in 2019. It was the wish of my father but things happen and you have to live with your decisions. I feel very much Nigerian and nothing can change that.”

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

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