Leke James, a forward with Molde FK in Norway, says he can perform better for the Super Eagles if given the opportunity by the senior male national football team handlers.
James who plays in the Norwegian top-flight “Eliteserien’’ told newsmen on Sunday in Abuja that the opportunity to show what he can do is all he needs now.
“I have more than what it takes to break into the Super Eagles team, and to play regularly as part of the team’s striking force. It’s just the opportunity.
“I can understand that many people will not look the way of Norway when thinking about quality players for our national team. But that is wrong.
“What we play there is fantastic football, and I am an exceptional player in particular, going by all available statistics.
“I can do better than many of the players many Nigerians have on their radar now for the national team going for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt,’’ he said.
James said Super Eagles’ present strikers were only being considered ahead of him on the basis of past glories.
“Let me use Odion Ighalo as an example in this case. Ighalo had already made his mark before going to China. So, he is not being assessed on the basis of his performance in China or the quality of the league.
“So, in the case of others like me, the fact that we play in the Norwegian league, which many of our people hardly watch or know about should not be a yardstick in assessing us,’’ the former Golden Eaglet player, who was signed on by Molde from Beijing Enterprises FC of China in 2018 by current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, said.
James who played alongside Spain-based Kenneth Omeruo in the Eaglets under coach Alphonsus Dike said he has the needed qualities to excel with the Super Eagles having paid his dues.
“It will be an honour for me right now to be called up to any of the Super Eagles teams, but I will be deserving it because I have paid my dues as a player and as a striker, and I have all it takes to deliver,’’ the 26-year-old whose playing role model is former Super Eagles’ John Utaka said.
James started out his career playing for Bridge Boys FC in Lagos before he transferred to Aalesunds FK of Norway in January 2012.
An injury obtained during pre-season hindered his path into the first team and he did not get back into full training until the start of July.
He made his first appearance for Aalesunds coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half of the game against Tirana in the UEFA Europa League.
James scored twice in a 5-0 win, and went on to make his league debut later that month against Stabaek.
He went on to join Beijing Enterprises in 2016, playing in the Chinese League One between 2016 and 2017.
In April 2018, James joined three-times national league champions Molde FK in the 82-year-old 16-club Eliteserien on a three-year contract.
He got his Molde debut in July 2018.
That was when he came on as a 67th minute substitute in Molde’s 3–0 win against KF Laci of Albania in the 2018/2019 Europa League, scoring the third goal.
Back home in Nigeria, Leke also organizes an annual football tournament which serves as a platform for discovering new talents.
This tournament started in 2018.
— Leke James Football Tournament (@Lj_tournament) September 15, 2018