He wears No.8 short and has contributed a lot to 23 goals in six matches scored by the major revelation of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013 in UAE – the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria!
Read the most interesting parts of the interview with a rising star:
“I need to keep a cool head and pivot in all directions to start our attacks,” said Alfa.
It is a template he has adopted from the player he looks up to as his role model, the Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta: “I love the way he plays, turning this way and that to receive the ball and to initiate moves.”
Interestingly, Alfa’s eulogising of the Spanish star comes hot on the heels of similar words from his team-mate Musa Yahaya, who plays further forward.
Alfa is supposedly a holding midfielder for Nigeria, playing in a withdrawn position near the central defenders. Why supposedly? Truth be told, in a team that is such an attacking machine, and which likes to pin opponents in their own half, the diminutive midfielder – at 5' 7'' the shortest player on the pitch
Usually stationed on the right, he has license to roam, with static positioning contrary to the philosophy of the coach Manu Garba.
“The coach gives us lots of freedom. He has fostered a great team spirit.
Nigeria indeed seem to be a perfectly functioning family. Up front, Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi are wreaking havoc, having accumulated nine goals and 12 assists between them. But to get the best out of this duo, they have to receive the service.
That is where Alfa comes in. “The three of us have trained and played together for a long, long time now, which has enabled us to strike up a great understanding on the pitch,” said one of the foot soldiers behind the forwards' success.
Maradona and Mexico
In the semi-final, Alfa put in an especially eye-catching performance, with none other than Diego Maradona watching from the stands. “I didn’t know he was there, but even if I had it wouldn’t have made me nervous,” he said. “It’s obviously pleasing to know that one of football’s all-time greats was watching me and my friends play.”
Alfa and his team-mates certainly put on a show at the Rashid Stadium. The constant swift-passing moves through midfield were a delight to behold. Perhaps the simplest manner to describe each touch is to accompany it with a yell of “olé!”, as is the wont of Mexican fans when appreciating a long sequence of passes.
In the UAE 2013 final on November 8, Friday, in Abu Dhabi, these fans will be in attendance as Nigeria and Mexico square off for a second time in the tournament. The Golden Eaglets
In a jarring contrast to his discreet playing style, Alfa concluded with a bold statement when looking forward to the upcoming decider:
“I promise our people back home that we will bring back the trophy. Yes, I can promise that.”