Samuel Chukwueze has earned high praise from his mentor and benefactor Hon Victor Apugo following his goal against Bayern Munich which guided Villarreal to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
With the quarter-final, second leg fixture against the Bundesliga giants looking destined to extend into extra-time as the score was tied 1-1 on aggregate, the Nigeria international played a super-sub role to send the Bavarians packing at Allianz Arena.
Chukwueze – who replaced Arnaut Danjuma in the 84th minute – cancelled out Robert Lewandowski’s opener four minutes after his introduction.
The former youth international had been a subject of criticism from some quarters following Nigeria’s poor outing at the Nations Cup and the failure to qualify for the World Cup, but Apugo believes Chukwueze’s well taken goal under immense pressure is a testament to his status as a world-class player.
Apugo said: “I’m very happy that Samy (Chukwueze) has once again proven his critics wrong and shown his quality at the highest level.
“There’s a football saying that ‘form is temporary but class is permanent and there’s no better illustration to this saying than that all important goal against a team like Bayern Munich.
“That goal was no simple goal at all, he (Chukwueze) had to work hard to get himself in that position, stay onside and still had the presence of mind and the composure to lift the ball above an imposing goalkeeper like Manuel Nueur.”
The Superstars Football Academy president also reiterated his earlier prediction that Chukwueze will eventually become Africa’s best player.
“Like I said before, Samy has the talent to become Africa’s best player and I have no doubt that he will eventually achieve that if he keeps working hard,” he concluded.
Chukwueze will be hoping to play an even bigger role as Villarreal bid to reach the finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history when they face Liverpool in the semis.