For Zaidu Sanusi his recent invitation for the Super Eagles October 9 and 13 friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia was not only a dream come true for the Porto
new star, but also for his long time agent
Porto’s summer signing Zaidu Sanusi has revealed his delight in receiving his first ever call-up to the Nigerian national team, saying it was a dream come true for him.
Two years ago, the left-back would have laughed off suggestions of being invited to the Super Eagles as he was playing in the third-tier of Portuguese football but his profile changed with a move to Santa Clara, for whom he played well, putting him on the radar of the Super Eagles coaches.
Sanusi has admitted that he knew beforehand that he was in contention to be named to the Super Eagles squad for their upcoming games against Algeria and Tunisia because he was contacted by one of Gernot Rohr’s assistants based in England.
“Before, I never thought about receiving a call-up because I played in the third division in Portugal. I was not thinking of getting called up until I move to the Primeira Liga,” said Sanusi.
“One day my agent called and told me about my transfer to Santa Clara, I was very happy and he told me that if I played well, Nigeria national team could call me but I didn’t think it was possible.
“When I was playing in Santa Clara, people were saying I should be called up but I told them I was unaware of an invitation to the squad but I continued to pray, maybe my dream can come true.
“One of Rohr’s assistants residing in England (chief scout Tunde Adelakun) called me and told me I should be expecting a call-up to the national team, but he told me to keep it a secret as he wasn’t sure 100 per cent so I continued to pray.
“Right now I have not spoken to the head coach Rohr.”
The powerful and pacy left-back has cited Bayern Munich star of Nigerian descent David Alaba as the fullback he looks up to and admitted that Super Eagles legend Taye Taiwo had also influenced his style of play.
“The left-back I look up to in the world is David Alaba of Bayern Munich, many, many people say that I play like Alaba but I want to be myself, I like him so much.
“Alaba can defend and attack and I’m like him. It’s very difficult for a left-back to attack and defend but Alaba does that very well.
“Many years ago I used to watch Taye Taiwo, sometimes I search for him on YouTube to see how he plays,” Sanusi added.
Sanusi, 23, made his competitive debut for Porto on the opening day of the season against Sporting Braga last weekend and is in contention to feature in this season’s Champions League.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese scout who discovered Sanusi and took him to Gil Vincente has said he would be a fulfilled man when the defender is called up to the Super Eagles.
And Portuguese scout Alberto Silva said that call-up would make him completely fulfilled.
“I’m very happy for him for signing for Porto, he’s a kid with an easy smile,” Silva told A Bola.
“Now I just want to see him get to the national team.”
The scout recalled his impressions of Zaidu when he first spotted him at a scouting tournament in Kaduna.
“He was a true diamond, technically gifted and physically very strong,” he remarked.
“He loved to join the attack. It was a dream, and we decided to bring him to Portugal because he has incredible ability.”
However, the plan to take the boy from rural Jega in Kebbi State to the top of football in Portugal almost derailed when he suffered an injury at his first club Gil Vicente and he was out for nine months.
“He was injured and went through a lot,” he recounted. “I remember hanging out with him a lot in the first few days, driving him in my car and he was always sad about the injury.
“He ended up at Mirandela (division 4) and today he is at Porto.
“His ambition always was to play for a big club and he always talked a lot about FC Porto. He kept saying he was going to be like Marcelo of Real Madrid.”
The 23-year-old Nigerian defender become the latest addition to the Blue and Whites after successful medicals.
Portuguese champions FC Porto announced the signing of Sanusi from rivals Santa Clara.
The defender signed a five-year deal with the Blue and Whites which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2025.
The Nigerian full-back is FC Porto’s third signing this summer after also acquiring the services of Claudio Ramos and Carraca.
Sanusi is looking forward to helping the Estadio do Dragao outfit win many titles in the 2020-21 campaign.
“I am extremely happy to play for FC Porto. I can’t explain it, but I am thrilled to wear this shirt,” Sanusi had told the club website.
“I hope to do a good job and help the team. We are going to win everything this season.
“The club and the fans can expect me to give everything. I received a lot of messages from FC Porto fans, and that made me happy.”
Sanusi is no stranger to Portuguese football, having spent most of his career playing in the European country.
The left-back started his exploits in the country in 2016 when he teamed up with Gil Vicente, but did not make a single appearance for the club before he was sent on loan to Mirandela.
Sanusi impressed on loan to earn a permanent deal with Mirandela in 2018 and featured 74 times for the club during his two-year stay.
The defender then teamed up with Santa Clara in 2019 and made 24 league appearances for the Estadio de Sao Miguel outfit before his departure.