Esiti Happy With Back-to-back National Team Invitation

(L-R) Anderson Esiti of PAOK FC, Donny van de Beek of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League third round qualifying first leg match between PAOK FC and Ajax Amsterdam at Toumba stadium on August 06, 2019 in Thessaloniki, Greece(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

PAOK Saloniki of Greece midfielder, Anderson Esiti has added his voice to preview of Nigeria’s international friendly against Brazil on October 13, with a view that it is a huge fixture that will help the Super Eagles test their abilities against one of world soccer’s best and most respected football squads, with several years of strong pedigree and globally respected players.

While declaring that he is happy to get a consecutive invitation and be named in Nigeria’s 23-player squad list for the tie at Singapore National Stadium, Esiti, who has two caps for the Eagles, added that he is already setting his mind on how to put up his best performance this time out i9n training, as he hopes to be part of the action against The Samba Boys.

Born on 24 May 1994, in Warri, Delta State, Esiti took his first steps in the round leather game by horning his skills and cutting his teeth at Football Academy Bobbies United, from where he then moved abroad to join Leixões of Portugal in 2012.

After a few games with the second-string team, Esiti was promoted to the senior side of the club, and played 45 matches, which led to his move to fellow-Portuguese side, Estoril, where he has a run of two seasons for the main squad, going on to feature in 57 appearances, and established himself as one of the leading midfielders in the Portuguese Primera Liga.

Esiti soon attracted interest from various clubs around Europe, and he eventually he signed with KAA Gent of Belgium, with which he played a total of 95 games in all competitions, until July 25 this year, when he signed a four-year contract to join former Arsenal youth team striker, Chuba Akpom at PAOK, in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The reigning Greek Super League champions paid Gent €3.5m to sign Esiti, who played 30 games across all competitions for the Belgian club in the 2018-19 season, and PAOK felt the defensive midfielder would aid their cause in the UEFA Champions League, while filling the gap left by Jose Canas and Yevhen Shakhov, key members of the squad that claimed the double in Greece.

Although he actually got his first invitation to the Eagles during the days of Stephen Okechukwu Keshi as handler of the Nigerian side, Esiti says he is excited more now, because he has gained an instant recall under the current dispensation, in which several young and promising players are in the squad, hence the deep level of delight held by the battling midfielder.

He got his Eagles’ debut in June 2015, when he played all 90 minutes of a 2-0 win against Chad in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and last appeared for the Eagles three years ago in a France 2018 World Cup qualifier away at Zambia.

Having been capped twice by Nigeria at senior level, the buzzing midfielder, who joined moved from Estoril Prai to Belgium in 2016 for a fee of around €1.5m, added that he is now fully focused on following the footsteps of his former colleagues at Gent, Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, and Peter Olayinka, who also part of the Eagles’ list of invitees for the Brazil fixture.

Esiti declared: “I am happy with my second straight invitation to the national team. It shows that the coach appreciated what I did the last time. I am happy with the opportunity I now have to play against one of the best teams in the world.

“We are all looking ahead to this match, It is a good game for us to play against one of the best teams in the world. I’m willing and ready to give my best, if I am called on to play in the match, and I hope we will get a good result from the game.”

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