The talent had always been there . . . . .it was undeniable, but then so were the question marks latched strongly like leeches onto his allusion to stardom
Even after scoring 4 goals at the Olympics emerging as the Nigerian teams highest goal scorer as the Dream team clinched a historic bronze there were still grunts of dissatisfaction from a very critical Nigerian footballing community and rather than build from that performance the 21 year old was relegated to the background of the national team setup
2 better forgotten loan spells at Bologna and Torino did not help his cause and a player once christened as the next big thing and new Kanu Nwankwo watched as his career took a massive plummet
What the world had been quick to forget however was that the player was after all still only 19 years as at the time and a work in progress, still vulnerable to the pitfalls that derail many a star from the path to stardom
At the point in his life the then 19 year old was facing the challenges of incessant Injuries, a loss of form and confidence due to a constant changing of coaches and the emotional burden of losing his father.
Faced with all these Sadiq was unable to reproduce the kind of form that saw him set Italy alight while with Spezia, and with the Roma Primervera
But now, finally after seasons in Europe Sadiq Umar seems finally to be becoming the player many had tipped him to be
Offered a lifeline in the form of a loan move to Holland with modeste Dutch side NAC Breda, Sadiq who jumped at the opportunity of a new challenge in a fresh terrain a chance to start all over is thriving again
He is fast becoming a cult hero of sorts at NAC Breda as the fans have quickly taken to him and is gradually carving a niche for himself as one of the top finishers in the Dutch league
He at some point this season held the best goals per game ratio in the league and has been involved in an Eredivisie goal every 80 minutes on average
Just last week he scored his 5th goal of the season in NAC Breda 2-1 loss to Sparta, a typical strikers goal, running on to a long overhead pass, showing first frightening pace, then precision and control to nudge the ball forward “Yekini style” with his head, showing surprising strength to hold off his marker and then clinically finishing past the onrushing goalkeeper.
It was a classic strikers goal
The young Nigerian is also being helped by the strong bond and friendship with young French strike partner Ambrose Thierry who has helped him settle in and the encouragement of a coach that believes in his abilities and now Sadiq is looking more and more like the player we expected him to become
Its early days yet but it seems safe to say Sadiq is finally coming of age, growing with confidence with each match, enjoying his football again evident from the smile on his face on and off the pitch in Holland
A definite plus for Nigeria and the green white and green either perhaps now at Russia 2018 or perhaps more probable in a couple of years . . .
Sadiq Umar is ready for the World . . . it better get ready for him!